Real Madrid still waiting for a reply from Varane
Madrid expect Varane's agents will present an offer after the player has spent so long thinking about whether to renew. His future will depend on Ramos.
After Zidane's departure, Ancelotti's arrival, new contracts for Modric and Lucas Vázquez and with David Alaba's transfer completed, now it's time for Real Madrid to get to work on the players who will be leaving the club this summer. The club has 30 first team players for the 2021-22 season (not counting Mayoral and Reinier, who will remain at Roma and Borussia Dortmund, respectively) and must whittle that number down to lower the wages bill. Securing loan deals won't be a problem - every year the club receives dozens of offers, but this summer, Madrid are also aiming to sell some players. They could cash in on one player in particular - Raphaël Varane.
Varane dragging heels on contract talks
The French central defender has spent the past few months stalling on Real Madrid's offers to renew his contract. His current contract will run out on 30 June 2022; in other words, if he doesn't sign an extension, this will be his last season at the club. At first, Varane's agents didn't respond to Madrid's initial proposals; later they returned requesting a substantial pay rise for the defender - at a time when the club is trying to cut costs and asking the whole squad to take a pay cut. The player has largely remained silent, saying nothing apart from a cryptic comment during a press conference ahead of a Champions League game: "It's not the right moment to talk about that, but my future is clear in my mind..."
Real Madrid feel sure that Varane is seriously thinking about leaving. It wouldn't be for the first time - he was contemplating a change of scenario during the 2018-19 season and was only coaxed to stay when Zidane returned during the latter stages of the campaign. (It was Zizou who recommended that Madrid should sign the defender from Lens in 2011 for 10 million euros).
If this is going to be Varane's final season, then now is the moment when Madrid should try and sell him. But the club are being careful not to promote the idea that Varane is on the market as that might lower his value. Instead, they hope the player will come to them with an offer.
With 12 months left on Varane's contract, Madrid know that this is the last chance to get a decent price for the defender and inject some much-needed cash into the club's bank account which has been seriously affected by the pandemic. Varane and Casemiro are the two players with the highest market value according to Transfermarkt who have him priced at 70 million euros; according to BeSoccer however, Varane's current market value is 44,1 million. Either way, Madrid will be able to get a good price for the centre-back and ease their financial problems. There is also a possibility that Varane might want to run down his contract and leave on a free transfer in 2022, but Madrid are hoping that won't happen and that his agents will come to them with an offer.
Ramos' future depends on Varane
Varane's decision to leave or stay will affect other players in the squad - particularly Sergio Ramos, whose contract talks are at a dead end and he will be free to leave the club at the end of this month. If Madrid can resolve Varane's situation quickly, they could put in one final offer to Ramos. As it stands, Ramos wants a two-year extension but Madrid have offered one year. If Varane's situation isn't resolved and Ramos leaves, Madrid will be left with just Alaba, Militão and Nacho as the team's central defenders.
The club's idea is to give Militão a more prominent role. Madrid paid 50 million euros for the defender and he started to justify that fee with some solid performances at the end of last season. He would be first choice alongside the vastly experienced Alaba with Nacho competing with both. If Varane leaves and Ramos doesn't sign a new contract, Madrid will need to find someone to fill the fourth centre-back role. One possibility is Vallejo, who could be brought back from his loan at Granada, or Víctor Chust, from Castilla, who enjoyed a great season and made his first team debut.