Real Madrid squad LaLiga 2021/22: players, new signings and exits
We take a look at Real Madrid's transfer activity during summer 2021 as Los Blancos bid to bounce back from a season without silverware last term.
Following a trophyless 2020/21 season, the hope at Real Madrid is that Kylian Mbappé can be lured from Paris Saint-Germain and that the arrival of David Alaba will help to fill the void left by defensive stalwarts Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane, as returning coach Carlo Ancelotti bids to prevent the LaLiga giants from registering two straight years without major silverware for the first time since 2010.
Real Madrid out to snare Mbappé as star nears end of PSG deal
Mbappé is Madrid’s priority transfer target this summer, as the club follow a strategy that involves the France striker stalling on renewing a PSG contract that expires in June 2022. This, Los Blancos believe, may persuade the Parisians to sell for a reduced (if still sizeable) fee now, rather than lose him for free in 12 months’ time. So far, Mbappé has done his bit by rebuffing PSG’s attempts to tie him down to a new deal, but a recent interview in which he spoke of his desire to win the Champions League with the Ligue 1 club served to dampen Madridista optimism that he plans to leave the French capital this summer.
How Lionel Messi’s arrival at PSG will influence Mbappé’s thinking is something of an unknown, although PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi expects him to stay put and form a terrifying forward line alongside the Argentine and Neymar. "Everyone knows the future of Kylian," Al-Khelaifi said at Messi’s unveiling on Wednesday. "He's a competitive player who wants to win trophies - he's said that himself. He wanted a competitive team, [with Messi] there is no excuse. He can't do anything else but stay." Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian sensation Erling Braut Haaland is also a young striker very much on Real Madrid’s radar, but the 13-time European champions appear to favour a move for the 20-year-old in 2022.
Madrid ready to shell out on Mbappé amid reticence to spend
Madrid’s willingness to part with a significant fee for a big-name striker is the exception to the rule in what has been a period of transfer-market frugality at the club. Since forking out 30 million euros for Reinier in January 2020, Los Merengues haven’t paid a penny in transfer fees - a tightening of the belt partly motivated by the 800-million euro cost of their stadium revamp, and intensified by the financial impact of covid-19. Madrid actually reported a profit in 2020/21 - albeit a small one - but their most recent accounts estimated that they had lost 300 million euros in revenue since the pandemic hit.
Free transfer Alaba bolsters backline following Ramos, Varane exits
Nothing has been spent on transfer fees thus far this summer, but Madrid have been able to make a high-class addition to their squad in the shape of defender Alaba, who has arrived as a free agent after his Bayern Munich contract ran out in June. With Ramos and Varane gone - the former has joined PSG after failing to agree a new Madrid deal, the latter has been sold to Manchester United for 50 million euros - the Austrian can be expected to form a first-choice centre-back partnership with Éder Militão, whose impressive run of form at the back end of last season suggests he has now found his feet at the club.
Who could leave Real Madrid this summer? Odegaard, Jovic...
Alaba aside, the only incomings at the Bernabéu have been a raft of returning loanees. Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos, Brahim Díaz, Luka Jovic, Takefusa Kubo, Martin Odegaard and Jesús Vallejo all concluded temporary stints elsewhere at the end of 2020/21, with Brahim (who is to spend another year at AC Milan) and Kubo (who has returned to Real Mallorca) the sole members of this group who have so far been moved back out for the coming campaign. Odegaard is also likely to leave. After spending last term on loan at Arsenal, the midfielder is now being tipped to join the Premier League club permanently.
Having scored just two goals in Spain since his arrival for 60 million euros in 2019, Jovic also appears to be a prime candidate to depart before the end of the transfer window, particularly as fellow bit-part striker Mariano Díaz is seemingly intent on seeing out his lucrative Madrid contract. Bale and Ceballos look to be back to stay - and even if Madrid did try to ship the Spaniard back out, they’d struggle to find a taker given he now faces two months out with injury - but Vallejo, Isco and Álvaro Odriozola are other contenders for a summer departure.
In addition to Brahim and Kubo, youth products Diego Altube and Víctor Chust have also been sent out on season-long loans, to Fuenlabrada and Cádiz, respectively. Three academy players who Ancelotti can be expected to call upon this season, though, are the ’B’-team trio of Sergio Arribas, Antonio Blanco and Miguel Gutiérrez, who all got senior game under former boss Zinedine Zidane last year.
Real Madrid's transfer activity so far in summer 2021
Players in: David Alaba (Bayern Munich, free), Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos, Brahim Díaz, Luka Jovic, Takefusa Kubo, Martin Odegaard, Jesús Vallejo (returned from loans)
Players out: Diego Altube (Fuenlabrada, loan), Víctor Chust (Cádiz, loan), Brahim Díaz (AC Milan, loan), Takefusa Kubo (Real Mallorca, loan), Sergio Ramos (Paris Saint-Germain, free), Raphaël Varane (Manchester United, 50 million euros)
Real Madrid's first-team squad as it stands:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin
Defenders: David Alaba, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy, Éder Militão, Nacho, Álvaro Odriozola, Jesús Vallejo
Midfielders: Casemiro, Dani Ceballos, Isco, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Martin Odegaard, Federico Valverde, Lucas Vázquez
Forwards: Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Mariano Díaz, Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Vinicius Júnior
How might Real Madrid line up in 2021/22?
Possible XI in 2021/22: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Asensio, Benzema, Hazard