REAL MADRID have lined up Joachim Low to replace Zinedine Zidane in the summer, say reports from Spain.
Spanish outlet Diario Gol claim that Zidane will be relieved of his duties at the end of the current season having dramatically failed to retain the La Liga title.
Los Blancos will trail rivals Barcelona by 13 points if the Catalan club beat Las Palmas tonight after winning the title for the first time in six years last term.
And their domestic performance, despite performing well in the Champions League, has convinced club president Florentino Perez that a change is necessary later this year.
Germany boss Low – who has led the national team for 12 years – is the man Perez and Real Madrid want to replace Zidane.
The 58-year-old will take Die Mannschaft to the World Cup in Russia this summer but could be tempted into a move after that, although his contract runs until 2020.
Low was the club’s first choice appointment before Rafael Benitez’s arrival in the summer of 2015 but he decided to continue in charge of the German national team until Russia 2018.
But the La Liga giants will once again chase Low after the World Cup, keeping Zidane in charge until then.
Real Madrid have suffered a number of disappointing defeats this season, including Tuesday’s league reverse at Espanyol in which they conceded a 93rd-minute winner.
Perez is thought to value Zidane’s ability to work wonders, his reign having yielded eight trophies in just over two years, and will therefore give him until the end of the season rather than sack him immediately.
Diario Gol suggest that Perez and Zidane have already had conversations in which they have agreed it is best that the Frenchman moves on before the 2018-19 season.
Their reports state that if Low was to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu, he would oversee a huge overhaul of the current squad and see to the exits of a number of first-team players including striker Karim Benzema.
Other suspected casualties include Raphael Varane, Jesus Vallejo, Marcos Llorente and Borja Mayoral – while the futures of Isco and Gareth Bale are increasingly uncertain.
The Welsh winger is thought to be struggling physically and mentally and has reportedly been put up for sale with Manchester United and Chelsea among the clubs linked.
With Bale and Benzema thought to be on their way out, Diario Gol say that Low will target attackers such as Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Goncalo Guedes as their replacements.
Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar, formerly of Barcelona, would also be of interest – though they would not look to sign the Brazilian until 2019. He only moved to France last summer for a world-record £198m fee.
Elsewhere, Timo Werner and David Alaba are targets with Keylor Navas’s expected departure signalling an approach for either Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea or Chelsea counterpart Thibaut Courtois.