Real Madrid and money are two concepts that have always gone together.
This association has been particularly true since Florentino Pérez’s first term as the club’s president. Back in 2000, Pérez won the elections under the promise that he would buy Luis Figo from rivals Barcelona. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pérez left the club with a tumultuous resignation in 2006, but it only took him three years to come back.
Real’s first transfer window during Pérez’s second term was something to behold: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká, Karim Benzema, and Xabi Alonso all joined Real Madrid. It was an effort to challenge Barcelona’s dominance under Pep Guardiola’s management.
Real Madrid’s transfer market strategy is a sign of the times
Fast-forward ten years, and things have changed considerably. Gone are the days when Real Madrid was the richest club in the world. That title is now disputed between the new rich like Manchester City or PSG.
This recent economic disparity was apparent for everyone to see this summer when Madrid made a £171.7m deadline-day bid for PSG star Kylian Mbappé only the French side to reject.
Real approaches the transfer market differently now. Over the past few years, they have focused on buying young prospects instead of established superstars. Brazilians Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, or Militao are among their recent successes.
The strategy is not without its risks. In summer 2019, Real shelled out £56.70m for striker Luka Jovic, who has scored only three goals for them in three seasons.
However, Real’s new ethos means that they have come out of the pandemic relatively unharmed. They were forced to make difficult decisions, such as Raphael Varane’s transfer to Manchester United or refusing to renew Sergio Ramos’s contract.
So far, those moves have paid off, as they gave Los Blancos enough funds to sign David Alaba on a free transfer last summer.
Real’s situation paints an unflattering picture for Barcelona, who have famously struggled after the pandemic. They couldn’t afford to re-sign Messi, and the hefty contracts awarded to bench-warmers like Coutinho or Umtiti are now an albatross around their neck.
At the moment, Barcelona are 18 points behind Madrid in La Liga and eliminated from the Champions League. They contend for the third or fourth spot in the league table, not for a title.
Real Madrid are looking to raise funds for the next transfer windows
Real’s economic future looks bright. Once the Bernabéu’s refurbishment work is completed, the stadium will welcome massive concerts and sports events. Furthermore, Pérez and his board might be close to striking a €400m deal with retail company Legends.
The deal with Legends will turn the Bernabéu into a 365-days-a-year money-making machine. But what are Real going to do with so much cash?
Part of those funds have a French ring to them. At this point, it’s an open secret that Real will sign Kylian Mbappé on a free transfer and make him one of the better-paid players in the world. As Mbappé’s contract with PSG ends at the end of the season, Real can sign him on a pre-contract in January.
Los Blancos have been linked to Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rüdiger, who could also join them on a free transfer. As with Mbappé, Real could make it official in just over two weeks. It is also expected that they will make an offer for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.
The winter transfer window opens on January 3 for La Liga teams. In a few weeks, we’ll see if Real are ready to splash out.