The Blancos have already made €120m on fringe players but believe they can meet FFP regulations and still land Paul Pogba by selling more reserves
Splashing the cash was the easy part, with Real Madrid spending €315 million on new players by the middle of June.
Now, comes the hard part: balancing the books. And then hopefully generating enough money through sales to finance one more major move.
Paul Pogba remains on Zinedine Zidane’s summer wishlist and, as we already know, thanks to the Frenchman and his agent, Mino Raiola, the midfielder has been looking for a “new challenge” away from Old Trafford.
The good news for all of the parties involved has been that Real are well-placed – perhaps uniquely well-placed – to raise the kind of money required to persuade Manchester United to part company with a soccer professional they paid £89 million for just three years ago.
Madrid have a squad packed with valuable assets.
To date, they have already raised €120 million (£112m/$140m) from the departures of just four players who were never anything more than reserves: Mateo Kovacic (€45m), Marcos Llorente (€35m), Raul De Tomas (€20m) and Theo Hernandez (€20m) – while Sergio Reguilon, Luca Zidane and Martin Odegaard have all been sent out on loan to reduce the size of Zidane’s massive squad.
Real are confident that they can generate further funds by offloading Jesus Vallejo, Borja Mayoral and Dani Ceballos (although Arsenal have just made a loan move for the latter) – all of whom starred for Spain during this summer’s triumphant Under-21 European Championship campaign – and Mariano Diaz, who has been being offered to Premier League and Serie A sides having been deemed surplus to requirements a year after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu from Lyon for €23m.
In theory, getting rid of their unwanted superstars should be easier and more lucrative. However, it’s proving slightly more difficult than expected.
There have been no offers, thus far, for Keylor Navas, Isco and Gareth Bale – three men who played pivotal roles in Real’s run of three consecutive Champions League victories.
The lack of interest in Bale has been particularly frustrating for Madrid, given the Wales international has little desire to facilitate a transfer.
“He’s got a lovely life and home in Spain,” the winger’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, pointed out.
“I think it would take something exceptional for him to leave and loans are not on the menu.”
That has been undeniably true, as underlined by the current impasse over James Rodriguez’s proposed move to Napoli.
Carlo Ancelotti has been keen to be reunited with his former charge at the San Paolo but club president Aurelio de Laurentiis has already publicly claimed that the Blancos are demanding too much money for the star of the 2014 World Cup.
“James has been in our hearts, especially in the heart of he who coaches him better than anyone else, Ancelotti,” De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss, alluding to the fact that Rodriguez and the Napoli coach have previously worked together at Real and Bayern Munich.
“James’ problem has been that we have to deal with Real Madrid. We are tough, we do not want to yield to the unjust demands of Real Madrid.”
The Italian also tried to negotiate a loan deal for the attacking midfielder – similar to the one that saw him spend two years at Bayern Munich – but Real will only currently entertain a permanent transfer after the Bavarians ceded to the Colombian’s request not to enact their right to make the transfer permanent.
Madrid’s stance on Ceballos was also initially similar to that of James – with Zidane happy to see the soccer professional leave permanently. Arsenal have now made a loan move for the soccer professional, and if such a deal was completed then Madrid would miss out on up to €40m this summer.
That would be an issue as Real know they will require anywhere between €150m and €180m to sign Pogba, with United unsurprisingly determined to make a massive profit on their most high-profile soccer professional.
Consequently, Madrid are hoping to make approximately €160m from offloading Bale (€60m), James and Isco (both €50m). That would raise their sales revenue to €280m.
Navas, meanwhile, has been valued at €10m, while flogging Mariano, Vallejo and Borja Mayoral would take the total made from departures well past the €300m mark. Ceballos would also generate a loan fee from Arsenal if that type of deal goes through.
Up until now, Real have done a sterling job cashing in on their fringe players this summer and by selling even just a couple more at a decent profit, they will have more than have enough money in the bank to soothe any Financial Fair Player (FFP) concerns.
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However, if they are to land Pogba, striking lucrative deals for Bale, James and Isco will be essential. What’s more, they need to be done soon.
United, remember, will be unwilling to countenance any sale without sufficient time to acquire a replacement. Therefore, the clock has been ticking.
The big Real Madrid summer firesale has been about to get even more chaotic.