Real Madrid could save €250M with squad clear-out this summer
Madrid can reduce costs by getting players off their wage bill. In doing so, they could finance new signings. There are seven players on the list.
Considering the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, you get the sensation that the major clubs are going to struggle to make any big name signings this summer. All need to cut back to offset some of the losses incurred over the past year - starting with Real Madrid, who forecast losses of 91 million euros in their budget for 2020-21. It turns out that those losses won't be as bad as expected as the team has progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League and are negotiating with players to accept a pay cut. There could be some margin for new signings this summer, if they can offload players who are currently on the books. That would allow the club to raise cash from transfers and at the same time, save on wages.
There are seven players who figure on the transfer list - players who Zidane doesn't count on or who he seldom uses: Odriozola, Isco, Mariano, Marcelo, Jovic and Ceballos. The seventh is Raphaël Varane, who is a different case, but the club can raise cash by selling all of them. Based on the market values of those players on Transfermarkt, Madrid could save almost 250 million euros if they all move on. The figure could be even higher as Madrid would demand as higher price for certain players out of the seven.
Gareth Bale isn't on the list, for obvious reasons - Madrid haven't been able to sell him during the last two summers and it is unlikely they will manage to do so this time. His salary, 15 million euros net per season (30 million gross), is too big an obstacle for most potential buyers; the best Madrid can hope for is an operation similar to his loan move to Tottenham, with both clubs paying half of his salary. The days when Manchester United would slap 100 million on the table are long over.
The French centre-back's case is strange: he is a first-choice in the team and a player who Zidane has total faith in. But he had thought of leaving Madrid in 2018-19 and it was only Zizou's return which convinced him to change his mind. His contract expires in 2022 and he has not replied to the offers to renew which makes Madrid think that this time he really does want to leave. If this is Varane's last summer in the Spanish capital, then the club has to try and cash in on him. Varane joined from Lens for just 10 million euros in 2011 - he was signed on Zidane's advice...
According to Transfermarkt, Varane (who turned 28 the other day) is valued at 70 million euros, a figure which Madrid would probably accept. A number of Premier League clubs have shown an interest and he has long been on PSG's radar - the Parisens are keen to have more national players in the squad as it would generate more empathy with the fans. Madrid meanwhile would save on the 12 million euros which Varane currently takes home as one of the highest paid members of the squad.
The return leg against Liverpool convinced Zidane that the full-back is never going to find a niche in the side. Without Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez and unable to field Nacho at right-back, Zidane would rather plug the vacancy with a Fede Valverde full of painkillers than call on Odriozola. He's hardly played 390 minutes this season and last year he was loaned out to Bayern in the January window and got scant playing time in Germany. He cost 30 million from Real Sociedad, but now he's worth just 10 million. Offloading him would help Madrid save on bhis salary - he earns seven million euros after tax per season - way too much for a player who never plays.
The Malagueño was a key figure during Zidane's first spell on the bench, but he has lost prominence since the coach return and their relationship has suffered as a result. To the point where Movistar TV cameras caught the player making mocking the coach in front of his team mates. In January, Isco's father told the club that his son wanted to leave, to gain minutes elsewhere and improve his chances of being at Euro 2020; but Madrid declined as it might have left them short in midfield, although they granted Ødegaard a loan move to Arsenal.
Isco is valued at 20 million euros, although it is unlikely that Madrid would let him go for that; back in January, there was talk of a figure closer to 50 million. However, he will be out of contract in 2022 so this summer is the best chance they will have to command a decent fee for him - otherwise, he will be able to leave on a free transfer next year. Madrid will probably accept a reasonable offer without much resistance. Again, they would lower the wages bill - Isco pockets 14 million euros per season.
Like Odriozola, Mariano knows he doesn't feature in Zidane's plans. But in spite of that, on the few occasions he has played, he has given his all and has scored goals. But he will never get regular playing time - a situation which he doesn't seem too bothered about; he decided against leaving in 2019 and again last summer in spite of having a good offer to join Benfica. He is another big earner - around nine million euros per season, that is a lot for player who hardly racked up 90 minutes of playing time last season and totals just 563 minutes on-field this season, covering for Benzema when the French striker was out injured. Transfermarkt have him worth 10 million.
Another whose contract expires in 2022 and who has dropped down the pecking order, with Férland Mendy blocking his way back into the side. A couple of years ago, when Solari benched him in favour de Reguilón, he considered joining his friend Cristiano at Juventus but Zidane's return stopped that from happening. He'll turn 33 in a couple of weeks, few clubs will want to take on a defender of his age and his market value is just 10 million euros, but the interesting part is his salary - he earns 16 million euros net and has racked up just 924 minutes on-field this season. As the second captain (he would become the first if Ramos leaves), Madrid will respect his contract, but won't stand in his way if an offer comes in.
The Serbian striker cost the club 60 million euros and is now worth just 20 million, according to Transfermarkt. He's had a torrid time in Madrid, but is admired in Germany where he is out on loan, and also Italy. He could be sold this summer - at a loss. He earns 10 million euros per season, which would be another sizable chunk off the wages bill. He knows he has few chances of breaking into the side under Zidane - the coach preferred to stick with Benzema and Mariano this season, which prompted Jovic to return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan in January.
He has built up over 2,000 minutes of playing time during his second loan stint at Arsenal; he has struggled to lock down a regular place in the XI in the Premier League but has been playing a lot in the Europa League with the Gunners into the semi-finals. His market worth is still high, 30 million euros, practically double what Madrid paid for him in 2017. Madrid have preferred to loan him out rather than sell him with the hope that there might be a place for him in the future - but that won't happen while Zidane is in charge. Ceballos made comments about his working relationship with the coach which didn't go down well and now there is no way back.
There have been no bad words said since then, but Ceballos knows that he will never be a regular in the side under Zizou and so he so he could be sold this summer. If Zidane leaves, the Ceballos may have an opening. If the player leaves, it won't be for his salary - he is one of the lowest earners in the squad, taking home three million euros a year since joining in 2017.