Real Madrid are prepared to axe six first-team stars in January to bring their £92m wage bill under control, with transfer targets of Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and Leeds all named, per a report.
According to Spanish outlet AS (via the Express), the January window could be busier than ever at the Bernabeu. Their reported £92m wage bill requires immediate attention. And with hopes high of landing one or both of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe next summer, an exodus may be required.
Carlo Ancelotti’s current squad boasts a large portion of players in the final year of their contracts. As such, the winter window is the final opportunity to generate a transfer fee unless new contracts are first signed.
And it is many of those players that the report stipulates could be on the move in January. That will perk up several Premier League clubs with cut-price deals potentially on the agenda.
Firstly, Serbian striker Luka Jovic is listed. A recent report from Goal revealed Ancelotti is open to Jovic moving on.
Karim Benzema has placed an insurmountable barrier between Jovic and regular first-team football. A loan exit has been touted, with both Liverpool and Arsenal linked.
Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the new year when AFCON begins. Arsenal, meanwhile, could sell Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette in January to avoid losing both for free next summer. A Jovic loan spell could be a viable stopgap for either.
The second player listed is Eden Hazard. The former Chelsea favourite has failed to hit the heights with Real that he so often reached at Stamford Bridge.
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A surprise return to the Blues has been touted of late, but cash-rich Newcastle are believed to be the current frontrunners to bring Hazard back to the country where he thrived.
Brazilian legend Marcelo is next in line for a sale. Marcelo has won everything there is to win with Real. But at 33, he has finally begun to lose his place in Madrid with Ferland Mendy now Ancelotti’s preferred choice at left-back.
Leeds and Everton were linked over the summer. However, a return to his native Brazil seems a better bet.
Three more on Real exit list
The final three names rounding out the list are Gareth Bale, Isco and Jesus Vallejo.
Bale is unlikely to generate much interest from the Premier League given his colossal salary and injury history.
On the other hand, Everton were previously deemed the ‘most feasible’ destination for Isco. Rafael Benitez’s prior connections with the Spaniard having managed him at Real were cited as key to that statement.
The Toffees do lack a creative spark in their attacking ranks. Though whether another high-profile but aging signing would work after the failure of James Rodriguez remains to be seen.
Centre-half Vallejo concludes the list. The 24-year-old has regularly been farmed out on loan, including a brief stint with Wolves in 2019/20.
Vallejo has failed to make a meaningful impact in six years on Real’s books. His potential exit would be more down to being surplus to requirements, rather than a cost-saving exercise.