Real Madrid

Real Madrid cut back by trimming squad and reducing players' wage bill

The club set a priority of reducing the number of players on their books, lowering the wages bill and raising cash to ride out the economic crisis. Bale's exit is the main problem.

A typical summer at Real Madrid involved prestigious signings but it's a very different story this year as the club plans to make the most of the transfer window to trim the squad. The main objective isn't buying new players, but rather selling ones who are surplus to requirements and reducing the number of players on the books. Over the course of the next few weeks, Madrid are hoping to raise enough money to give them a financial cushion which will help them ride out the looming economic crisis.

So far, the biggest gains have come from the sale of Achraf Hakimi, who joined Inter Milan for 40 million euros plus a further five in add-ons. The sale of six academy players has boosted the club's coffers - Óscar (15M for 75% of his rights) joined Sevilla; Javi Sánchez (3M€ for 50% of his rights) joined Valladolid; De Frutos and Dani Gómez (2.5M for 50% of their rights) moved to Levante; Baeza (2.5M - half the transfer fee) signed for Celta; Alberto Soro, who hasn't played for the first team or Castilla moved to Granada for 2.5M with Madrid retaining the option to buy him back, if they decide to, at a later date.

The cost cutting continued with players who have gone out on loan. Villarreal will pay 2.5M for Kubo - and that figure could double to five million if he reaches a set of objectives; Vallejo has signed on for a second season on loan at Granada; Reinier will spend the next two seasons with Borussia Dortmund; Luca Zidane left as a free agent after a loan stint at Racing and Areola, who joined on loan from PSG in 2019, left after the club decided not to renew terms.

Finding new clubs for Bale and Mariano

Others are expected to leave the Bernabéu in the coming days and weeks. Brahim is due to fly out to Italy today to sign a one-year loan deal with AC Milan, while Dani Ceballos is set for a second spell at Arsenal once the final flecks of his contract are agreed and signed.

Also on the cusp of leaving are James and Borja Mayoral. The Colombian has been granted permission by the club to organise his departure to Everton where he will be reunited with Carlo Ancelotti on a four-year deal. Once that operation goes through, Madrid will bring in 25 million euros for the transfer fee (a third of what they aid for him in 2014) and simultaneously save another 16 million on his wages. Mayoral, who is being tracked by Valencia and Lazio, will have to be patient. Valencia have prioritised reinforcing other positions, but he remains the top candidate to replace Rodrigo Moreno, who recently left for Leeds. With Reguilón, Madrid are looking to loan him out again or sell him with the option to buy him back. Sevilla are keen to take him back, as are a number of Premier League clubs.

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That leaves the two most complicated cases - Mariano and Gareth Bale, both players are a cause for concerns for the club's technical department... With Mariano, at least there is the hope that he could accept a move to Benfica. The Portuguese outfit have reached an agreement with Madrid for a loan with the option to buy him outright next year but the player is taking his time thinking it through. As Diario AS reported recently, Madrid are keen to clear his 4.2 million euro wage bill off their books and Benfica have given Mariano a couple of days to decide one way or the other. His situation could be resolved today as Benfica are starting to get impatient...

As for Bale, no offers have come in yet. His huge salary - 34 million euros gross, together with his age (he's 31) and a history of muscle injuries, complicate his situation. And besides, as AS reported back in July, his intention is to see out the remaining two years of his contract...