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How Real Madrid plan to find the money to finance Mbappé deal

Signing Mbappé will require a huge reduction in the squad wages bill. By offloading nine players, Madrid could save on 126 million euros.


Real Madrid are clear about how they are going to approach this summer's transfer window - reinforce the current squad by recovering some of the players who have been out on loan and try to add to that with one big signing - Kylian Mbappé, who would be the only new arrival along with David Alaba. The Austrian centre-back joins the club on a high wage (12 million euros net per season), but his versatility makes him a worthwhile addition as he is able to play in three different positions (central defence, left-back and midfield). The French striker is another case altogether - PSG have offered him a salary in excess of 30 million euros after tax, and if he does end up at Madrid, he would expect to earn a similar salary.

That means that the only way Madrid could afford Mbappé is by reducing the current wages bill - nit just for their own finances but also to comply with LaLiga's salary cap. The last time the wages limit was modified, Madrid were top of the list (it is usually Barcelona, but the pandemic forced Barça to reduce costs), with a total of 473.3 million euros going on paying the players.

Madrid's budget for 2020-21 included 414 million euros towards salaries in the football section - that included non-playing members of staff and the whole of the youth academy; for the first team squad, the budget was around 400 million. There is room to include Mbappé, but make sure they stay within limits accounting for any possible losses (the previous budget estimated a 91 million euro deficit), Madrid must lighten the load and get a few players off their wages bill.

Nine players have been tagged as ones who could leave - that would slice 126 million euros off the present salary bill - Ramos, Bale, Varane, Marcelo, Odriozola, Isco, Mariano, Jovic and Ceballos. Between them, they take home 63 million net, 126 gross. All could end up leaving although some are more likely to than others.

Ramos's situation is special. He is paid 25 million euros before tax and will be out of contract on 30 June. At the  moment, there is no agreement for a contract extension. If Madrid give him a new offer and he ends up accepting, he would have to take a 10% pay cut -  2.5 million, or 1.25 million net. Bale is Madrid's biggest expense in terms of salaries; he costs the club 30 million euros gross and spent last season on loan at Tottenham, who paid half of his wages. Madrid will look to do something similar with Bale this vseason, although his performances for Spurs and considering what Ancelotti and the player have both said recently, there is always a chance he could see out the final year of his contract.

Varane (12 million gross) has asked to double his wages but the club has declined to; they would rather sell him and try and get a good price for him. They hope offers will come in soon. Marcelo knows that he will have no chance of playing next season as Mendy is now first choice at left-back, Alaba can cover and Castilla's Miguel Gutiérrez is coming through. If Marcelo stand his ground and says he is staying, he will cost Madrid 16 million euros. Similar to Isco, who the club pays 14 million per year before tax; like Bale, Isco will chat to Ancelotti to see if there will be a place for him or not.

Mariano, Jovic, Ceballos...

These are the most urgent cases. Jovic (10 million) and Mariano (9 million) haven't met expectations at Madrid; the club would be open to letting Jovic leave but first they need to receive offers (they hope Eintracht will buy him), while Mariano has been refusing to move on since 2019, in spite of interest from numerous clubs. Mariano is under contract until 2023 and it is unlikely that another club would be willing to pay him the 4.5 million euros which he earns at Madrid.

Among those who situation is less pressing are Odriozola (7 million gross per year) and Dani Ceballos (3 million). The Basque right-back redeemed himself in the latter stages of last season but since Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez signed new deals (boosting their salaries from three to five million net, which is 10 million for the club), he is an expensive third-choice option. Besides, there are promising younger players coming through the youth teams in that position, such as Lorenzo Aguado. Finally there is Ceballos who, is he leaves it won't be to save on salaries, but to satisfy his own needs to be playing regularly week in, week out. He has already told Madrid that if he stays, it will be to play, if not, he will ask to be put on the transfer list.


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