After suffering during the pandemic and going through a gloomy autumn, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are facing without certainty the winter transfer window which begins on January 4 in Spain. Questions persist for the two Spanish giants: how to attract recruits without money? And how to extend the stars Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi, who have not yet “decided” on their future?
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With accounts severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic as well as very expensive stadium renovations launched last year, the two illustrious Spanish clubs, usual major players in the transfer market, will have to make tough choices.
In Real, need someone?
Of the two behemoths, Real Madrid is the one that seems in the least uncomfortable position. Admittedly, Zinédine Zidane’s team hardly moved during the last summer transfer window. Only loan returns (Odriozola, Odegaard, Lunin) and some departures. The last big recruit of the Merengue club is Eden Hazard, arrived in the summer of 2019 for five years and 115 million euros … But who has missed about fifty matches since his arrival due to multiple injuries.
Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Vinícius Paixão and Carlos Henrique Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Credit: Getty Images
Since the pandemic, the management of the club keeps repeating that there will be no recruits, because the accounts have been severely affected: the “White House” closed a few days ago the 2019-2020 economic year in the green of 313,000 euros. Far from the miraculous profits recorded in previous years by a Real which often squatted the first place of the list of clubs with the most income in the world, according to the firm Deloitte.
Some positions could still be strengthened: this is the case for that of Karim Benzema, sparkling since the start of the season, but who has no reliable replacement. But Real must especially extend the contract of its essential captain Sergio Ramos (34), which ends in June, without much leeway to increase his salary.
For the rest, according to the Spanish press, Real Madrid would have been interested in David Alaba lately to strengthen his left lane, while Isco, little used, is close to a transfer.
In Barcelona, Messi or nothing?
Barça side, the accounts are in the red, but there is an emergency: extend Lionel Messi, whose contract expires on June 30, 2021 and who will be free to negotiate with other clubs from January 1 for a possible departure in the summer.
“I haven’t decided anything“Said the Argentinian in an interview with the TV channel on Sunday The sixth. “I do not know yet (…) The club is going very badly, and it will be difficult to bring it back to the level it was at (…) But I am enthusiastic“, he said, while the Catalan socios will have to elect their new president on January 24, which could weigh on the final decision of the Argentinian.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Credit: Getty Images
The club is therefore in the midst of reorganization, but despite its debt which has been weighed down by the pandemic, coach Ronald Koeman, who has started to improve results, could be active in the winter transfer window.
According to the press, Barça would be inclined to part ways with French world champion Samuel Umtiti, and would like to bring back young Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, trained at La Masia, as well as Brazilian defender of Atlético Madrid Felipe. Defense is a priority for Koeman, who saw his rearguard decimated by injuries in the fall. The supporters would also like to see a pure number 9 arrive to replace the Dane Martin Braithwaite.
But the problem is the economic situation: in 2019, Barça took out a loan of 140 million euros over five years from an American investment fund, and the previous management was also indebted for 815 million out of 30. years with Goldman Sachs to complete the costly Camp Nou renovation project. He “will be difficult to bring players, because it takes money and there is not“, Messi summed up on Sunday.
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