The dates when it will start and end will remain anyone’s guess for quite a while, but at some point, a summer transfer window is going to take place. When it does, La Liga’s big three — particularly debt-ridden Barcelona and Atlético — could experience some of the most profound roster shakeups of any clubs in Europe.
High Press Soccer is going to look at what to expect for each squad this week. Let’s start with Real Madrid, who, according to Fabio Capello, might have the only positive outlook of anyone in La Liga.
Los Blancos will never get over that puzzling stretch before play was postponed – they drew Celta Vigo on February 16, lost to Levante on February 22 and lost to Real Betis on March 8 – if play does not resume and Barcelona edges them for the crown.
But the good news is A) it seems unlikely – we hope! – that no more games will be played and B) President Florentino Pérez has a much more encouraging roster/budget situation than his principal rivals.
While it’s not like the current squad is cheap – Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, to name two, make as much money as anyone in soccer – Real Madrid’s recent big signings have turned out to be much better moves than Barcelona’s high-dollar acquisitions of Ousmane Dembele (almost perpetually injured), Philippe Coutinho (uhhh, hard to sum up in a couple words…) and Antoine Griezmann (yet to justify his price tag).
A Great Starting Point
Before we get to who Real Madrid might have to lose, followed by the real fun part — which stars might be the next to head to the Spanish capital?? – how about a quick hypothetical: A club tells you their summer plan is to go out and pay whatever it takes to sign the following three players:
- Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard, age 21 (Transfermarkt value: $49.5M)
- Borussia Dortmund right-back Achraf Hakimi, age 21 (Transfermarkt value: $59.4M)
- Sevilla left-back Sergio Reguilon, age 23 (Transfermarkt value: $22M)
Your reaction is probably something like, “Good plan, but that’s probably all you can add.” But guess who can bring all three of those guys into the fold without spending any money?
That’s right, all three of these players are Real Madrid loanees*. It’s no sure thing that all of them return to the Spanish capital for the ’20-21 season, but the option to “add” them before truly going shopping puts RM in an enviable position.
Before we move on, if it seems like RM has quality players on loan throughout Europe, it’s because they do. The list above does not include Dani Ceballos (Transfermarkt value: $35.2M). According to Marca, which published an interesting look at this here, Real Madrid currently has 13 players on loan. Their total Transfermarkt value is around $223M. Inter Milan, “in second place” on the list of teams with the most value out on loan, has $217M, but that’s for an absurd 25 (!!) players on loan.
So Who Are Real Madrid’s Summer Transfer Targets?
On top of all that, Real Madrid’s deep pockets mean that if anyone in Europe will be a big spender this summer (and I understand that’s a substantial if) it will be them.
Even if Kylian Mbappe and Erling Braut Haaland are unlikely to become truly available, there are a good number of stars seeking new clubs. The list includes Sadio Mane, Mo Salah (Liverpool superfan Chops himself expects one of the two to leave if Timo Werner joins the Reds), Paul Pogba (stop me if you’ve heard the rumors linking him to Zinedine Zidane before) and Neymar.
To make room for those players, could this finally be it for Bale (unlikely) or Luka Modric? In the case of the Croatian, who turns 35 in September, that’s a distinct possibility.
Even if Los Blancos don’t want to spend enough to land one of those A-listers, players like RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga and Valencia’s Ferran Torres — an increasingly hot commodity — are among a slew of enticing options.
We’ll obviously have a much better idea of who to expect to join this club once we know how the rest of the season plays out. In the meantime, the good news for Madridistas is that unlike their domestic rivals, their team won’t have to part ways with quality pieces for budget reasons.
Is it just me, or has it been a hell of a couple years for player development for Real Madrid and Barcelona. It’s not that La Masia has dried up. 17-year-old Ansu Fati, for one, has certainly shown more than a little promise. But the stars of Barcelona’s academy are not transitioning into prominent roles with the first team the way they were five or 10 years ago.