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Real Madrid have three weeks to sell 12 players

Real Madrid have three weeks to sell 12 players

Jesús Álvarez Orihuela

Diario AS

Real Madrid return to work on 8 July. The club has prioritized closing new transfers but now the emphasis will be on offloading surplus playing staff.

In exactly 22 days' time, Real Madrid's first team squad are due to report back to work in Valdebebas for the first day of the pre-season. Not everyone in Zidane's 30-man squad will still be at the club come September. The club hasn't yet stepped up their operation to find new clubs for the players who are surplus to requirements so in the meantime, those who have their cards marked will continue to work as normal. Ideally however, some of them will have moved on before the squad flies out to Montreal for the summer stage in the second week of July. Zidane has already personally informed several players that he won't be counting on them next season. 

Madrid would prefer Keylor Navas to have resolved his situation over the next three weeks - Manchester United and PSG are interested in the keeper and while Zidane would rather keep him, the club feels that for his age and the new project, Thibaut Courtois is a better option to guard the Madrid net.

In central defence, either Jesús Vallejo or Nacho will leave; Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos will continue - along with recent signing Éder Militão. Zidane now has too many players for the left-back position: Theo, who neither the coach nor the club have faith in, will definitely leave while Sergio Reguilón will go out on loan like Dani Carvajal did when he was starting out.

In midfield, Marcos Llorente appears set to cross town to join Atlético de Madrid, in the same way his grandfather Ramón Grosso did in the 60s. Nor will Mateo Kovacic be boarding the plane to Canada. Chelsea are expected to open negotiations to keep the Croatian. Dani Ceballos is in a similar position - Zidane has informed him that he won't continue at the club. The problem for both players will be finding club that meet Madrid's criteria. At the moment, Chelsea cannot sign due to the one-window FIFA ban; Tottenham are believed to be interested in taking Ceballos while James Rodríguez's next destination may well be Napoli with 42 million euros exhanging hands for the Colombian. 

In attack, the situation is even more complicated. On both wings, Zidane has eight players fighting for two places - Bale, Brahim, Lucas Vázquez, Rodrygo, Hazard, Asensio, Vinicius and Ødegaard. At least of them will have to leave (Ødegaard will remain in Holland), although it's still not clear because the club wants to Brahim and sell Lucas Vázquez, but the coach wants both to stay. That would complicate matters for Asensio - someone who needs to be playing regularly, has numerous suitors but also a high buy-out (700 million euros). From now until 8 July, Zidane needs to offload 12 players and that's not going to be easy...