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Salah, Kane, Dembele, Ronaldo: Real Madrid's transfer options after Mbappe snub

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United challenges Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Real Madrid are reeling after it emerged on Saturday that their long-time transfer target Kylian Mbappe will be signing a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

Los Blancos believed they were in pole position to sign the World Cup winner this summer as his deal expires at the Parc des Princes, but the 23-year-old has now seemingly been persuaded to prolong his stay in Paris.

It is a massive blow to Madrid, particularly as the Spanish giants cooled their interest in signing Erling Haaland in the belief that a deal for Mbappe was all but done.

President Florentino Perez is said to be furious and Madrid will now need to reassess their options in the transfer market. Here, a look at the players Real could turn to after the disappointment of missing out on their two top targets this summer...

Mohamed Salah | Liverpool

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

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Mohamed Salah is already a Liverpool legend and the Egyptian definitely seems happy at Anfield, but could he be tempted by the chance to sign for Real Madrid?

Salah, who is 30 in June, is out of contract in 2023 and little progress has been made with talks over a new contract.

The former Roma and Chelsea attacker does not have fond memories of Madrid, having lost out to Los Blancos in the 2018 Champions League final, when he was forced off early due to an injury sustained in a challenge with Sergio Ramos.

He has called next weekend's Champions League final meeting with Los Blancos a chance for "revenge", but may be interested in one last big move after winning it all with the Reds. He would also be ideal for the problematic right-forward role at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Harry Kane | Tottenham

Harry Kane, Tottenham

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Harry Kane has interested Real Madrid in the past and the Tottenham striker is running out of time to win major trophies in an otherwise elite career.

Playing for Real Madrid is a virtual guarantee of silverware and he could be tempted by the lure of the Bernabeu, but his role is similar to that of Karim Benzema and the France forward is the best form of his career right now.

Benzema is 34 and will need to be replaced at some stage, but signing a centre-forward is not really the priority right now.

Kane also seems happier at Spurs since the arrival of Antonio Conte, having almost left the club last summer amid interest from Manchester City.

Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski

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Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is ready to leave the Allianz Arena after eight successful seasons with the German giants.

The Polish centre-forward is interesting Barcelona, with negotiations already underway with the Catalan club, but Real Madrid could potentially offer more money than their fierce rivals.

Lewandowski, who is out of contract next year and is refusing to sign a new deal, certainly has the quality. However, he is 33 already and not much younger than Benzema.

Madrid seem unlikely to play with two centre-forwards and, as with Kane, that makes his signing an improbable fit for Los Blancos this summer.

Ousmane Dembele | Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele

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If Real Madrid do want to get one over their fiercest rivals, they could target Barcelona's out-of-contract winger Ousmane Dembele this summer.

Dembele has let his deal run down and is expected to leave the Catalan club this summer, although there is still some hope he may stay at Camp Nou.

Still only 25, Dembele's career at Barcelona has been blighted by injuries, but he has the quality to make an impact at the highest level if he can stay fit.

Question marks over his discipline may deter Madrid, while he also needs to improve his decision making, but he is two-footed and could slot into Real's attack either side of Benzema.

Would he be prepared to cross the Clásico divide? It would cause quite a stir...

Raheem Sterling | Manchester City

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling looking upwards

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Raheem Sterling has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and appeared to welcome interest from Los Blancos in an interview a couple of years ago.

Sterling told Spanish sports paper AS that he would be prepared to move in future, to learn a new language and called Real Madrid a "fantastic club".

That was ahead of Manchester City's Champions League tie against Madrid in 2020 and two years on, the 27-year-old winger may feel the time is right to move.

Out of contract in 2023, Sterling is ambitious and said recently that he was focused on playing, not on a renewal.

The England winger can play in a number of attacking positions and that could suit Madrid.

Paulo Dybala | Juventus

Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus.

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Paulo Dybala is leaving Juventus this summer and the Argentine attacker is available on a free contract this summer.

The 28-year-old has been linked with a number of clubs in Italy, including Inter and Roma, and has previously been tipped to move to the Premier League.

Able to operate as a secondary striker, an attacking midfielder or a right-sided forward, Dybala would give Madrid options but may not be what they are looking for given Karim Benzema's tendency to drop deep and create for fast players on the flanks.

Given that his signing would likely mean a change of tactics and style at the Bernabeu, it seems unlikely - even if Carlo Ancelotti is excellent at adapting to take advantage of his players' strengths.

Heung-min Son | Tottenham

Son Heung-min celebrates his goal against Liverpool at Anfield.

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Heung-min Son has attracted surprisingly little interest from the world's biggest clubs in recent years, despite his excellent performances at Tottenham.

The South Korean is currently enjoying the best season of his career and is just one goal behind Mohamed Salah in the Premier League scoring charts.

Son spoke of his happiness at Spurs when he agreed a new four-year contract last summer and therefore seems unlikely to leave north London at the moment.

The 29-year-old is thriving under Antonio Conte and seems set for a return to the Champions League with Tottenham. All of that makes his signing unlikely this summer - even if a move to Madrid would be tempting for any player.

Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar

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Before Mbappe, Neymar was the last high-profile player to snub Real Madrid when he signed for Barcelona ahead of Los Blancos in 2013.

The Brazilian forward is one of the players who is expected to be made available this summer as PSG seek to rebuild their squad and also bring in additional income to fund Mbappe's new contract.

Neymar, who netted his 100th PSG goal on Saturday against Metz, is now 30 and would cost significantly less than the €222 million (perhaps around a third) paid by the French champions to Barcelona in 2018.

His Barcelona past is unlikely to be an obstacle as he nearly joined Real Madrid in 2019, but his preferred position is on the left side and that is where Vinicius Junior operates for Los Blancos.

His age might also put off Madrid, while his injury record remains a concern. In the short term, however, he could be an option for Florentino Perez as the president seeks a statement signing this summer.

Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich

Serge Gnabry

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Serge Gnabry is out of contract at Bayern Munich next year and talks over a renewal have stalled in recent weeks.

That could alert Real Madrid, with Los Blancos in need of a Plan B following Mbappe's decision to stay in Paris this summer.

Gnabry is 26 and plays predominantly as a right winger, a position which has been problematic at Real Madrid since the decline in form and fitness suffered by Gareth Bale in recent seasons.

The German international, who has 16 goals in 45 appearances this season, would be available for around €70 million.

Riyad Mahrez | Manchester City

Riyad Mahrez

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Riyad Mahrez is out of contract at Manchester City in 2023 and the Algerian winger could be an intriguing option for Real Madrid.

The 31-year-old is enjoying a successful season, with 24 goals in 46 appearances for Pep Guardiola's side, and is expected to be offered a new deal.

However, the arrival of Erling Haaland this summer will mean more competition for places and the prestige of a move to Madrid would be difficult to turn down.

Mahrez plays on the right, a problem position for Madrid. He is also an admirer of Karim Benzema and has heaped praise on the French forward, who is of Algerian descent.

The opportunity to play with him could prove attractive. Given his age and contract situation, he would probably not be too expensive either.

Cristiano Ronaldo | Manchester United

Cristiano Manchester united

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Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a remarkable return to Real Madrid ever since he left Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018. But could it really happen this time?

Ronaldo's second spell at Manchester United has brought a good amount of goals, but he has had to operate in a struggling side and will not be playing in the Champions League if he stays at Old Trafford for next season.

A return to Real would be a short-term fix for both player and club, but would see him add to his all-time record 450 goals for Los Blancos and have another shot at the Champions League. Perhaps even the Ballon d'Or.

Given the outlay involved in his wages, plus the nature of his exit, it still seems unlikely. But with Madrid now in need of a statement signing following the Mbappe blow, it cannot be completely ruled out.

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Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.