Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid plan several more big moves in the coming weeks in their quest to catch Barcelona, but both sides from the Spanish capital need to offload talent to provide the funding for their targets.
talkSPORT details the names most likely to move from Madrid to England, Italy and elsewhere.
It has already been a busy summer of transfers in LaLiga but in the coming weeks the movement in and out of Spain’s capital is expected to shift up a gear.
With Barcelona winning the league title by a comfortable margin for the second season in a row, both runners-up Atlético Madrid as well as Real Madrid have a number of further moves planned to try and topple the Catalans.
Paul Pogba and/or Christian Eriksen are the two remaining marquee signings Los Blancos hope to pull off, while highly-rated Espanyol centre-back Mario Hermoso and Madrid outcast James Rodríguez are high on The Colchoneros’ agenda.
If Zinedine Zidane is to strengthen his midfield as desired then a significant sum in transfer fees and wages will be needed to complete the moves, while Atleti will also require major liquidity to pay their Colombian target’s salary in particular.
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Hermoso’s personal terms won’t be anywhere near as costly and have been agreed with Atlético for some time, but while the risk of seeing the defender move to the Metropolitano for free next summer means current club Espanyol are warming to a bid below his €40million buyout clause, the eventual transfer fee is still likely to be a significant one for the Rojiblancos to absorb.
That means at least one sacrifice for Diego Simeone, and the leading candidate is the manager’s compatriot Ángel Correa.
Though never a nailed-on starter, the diminutive forward has been a staple pick for Cholo as either a rotation player, option from the bench or tactical variation, and has proven to be particularly useful when Atleti are asked to play in tighter spaces thanks to his low centre of gravity and skill under pressure.
That trait once earned Correa comparisons with fellow Argentinian Sergio Aguero, but the younger attacker has yet to develop the same finishing touch as his countryman.
The 24-year-old’s return of 30 goals and 23 assists in 188 games is no longer enough to make him untouchable for Simeone, so Atlético will now look to profit from his decent standing in the market.
A second Colchoneros departure which won’t bring in the same amount in a fee but would lesson the load on their wage bill is striker Nikola Kalinic.
Bought from AC Milan last summer, the Croatian worked hard and conducted himself well over 2018/19 but rarely started, and was quickly superseded by winter signing Álvaro Morata, who better fits Simeone’s vision of an energetic forward line.
The signing of fresh back-up forward Ivan Saponjic this summer means Kalinic has even less of a chance of playing next year so, like Correa, Atleti will look to England and Italy to move him on.
For Madrid meanwhile, a bloated squad with overbooking in key positions means there is no shortage of potential exits, but while the likes of Isco or Gareth Bale will be more complicated to offload due to their wage demands, a departure for Dani Ceballos is much more likely to crystallise.
The midfielder has a frosty relationship with Zidane, and has already expressed his desire to play 40 games next season in an attempt to make Spain’s Euro 2020 squad.
That’s a target he can only achieve away from the Santiago Bernabéu, and with a starring role in Spain’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship win helping to generate interest among Premier League sides, Madrid hope to capitalise and extract maximum value while the hype is still high.
Further up the pitch, back-up striker Mariano is also being directed towards the door after Madrid’s signing of Luka Jovic made it clear that Zidane’s priorities lie elsewhere.
Youth product Mariano was only brought back to the Spanish capital last summer but rarely played when Los Blancos were still competing for silverware, and tellingly, was dropped entirely in the final two games of the season during Zidane’s so-called ‘casting’ phase.
Even though he only played 511 minutes across the league and Champions League in 2018/19 however, the Catalan centre-forward still managed to score four goals in that sparse time on the pitch, and his obvious potential coupled with a solid record at former team Lyon means he still holds a decent market value.
Briefings in Madrid cite as many as 10 interested parties this summer, including Tottenham and Arsenal, but while it is almost certainly exaggerated in an attempt to create hype, a need to facilitate strengthening elsewhere means the number seven’s days are still likely to be numbered.
Ultimately, both Madrid sides are acutely aware that they need new blood and fresh talent to try and change the dominance of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.
Yet both rely on buyers to help inject the funds necessary to make their key targets a reality. That should create opportunities for other clubs to profit in the summer window, and guarantees movement between now and the start of the season.