We all assume that Real Madrid — the self-proclaimed “World’s Biggest Club” — can buy any player they want.
Indeed, Madrid-based AS are reporting that with new manager Julen Lopetegui’s team having dropped ten points in just eight games, Real may see Hazard as their savior. AS, who often peddle nonsense in favor of the home team, claim that Los Blancos would spend €120 million to get him in January if the crisis continues. If it eases, they would wait until the summer and the presumably lower price tag, maybe €80m. Considering that Chelsea set Hazard’s price at over £200m in the summer, those seem optimistic figures, but they may be a bit too much for their (new) tastes even then.
Sam Wallace reported in the Telegraph back in late September that the reason Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus was because they were about to take a big financial loss for the season.
Without his €100 million sale to Juventus, which also wiped out his €42 million annual wages, Madrid would be posting an €87 million loss rather than a €43 million profit.
The accounting impact of replacing Ronaldo with the Dominican Republic striker Mariano, re-signed from Lyon, is €96 million: Mariano cost €20 million, spread over five years, making his book cost this year just €4 million. He earns €34 million annually less than Ronaldo, altogether lifting €130 million off the costs.
Madrid sold an expensive player and bought an inexpensive one. It’s part of their new trend, as revealed by president Florentino Perez over the summer, to buy the “future stars” rather than overspend on the current stars. It’s a bold shift away from the “Galáctico” strategy and, thus, it may not last. Certainly, if the team continue to struggle under Lopetegui, this long-term plan may fall by the wayside. (In that sense, it’s a familiar situation to what we’ve seen at Chelsea a couple times, even.)
Regardless, as reported by journalist Paco Gonzalez, apparently a trusted voice in the Real Madrid sphere, on yesterday’s ‘El Partidazo’ show on Radio COPE, Real have no plans to go after Eden Hazard. Instead, they are continuing the youth policy — the signing of 17-year-old Rodrygo has been confirmed by Santos; he will join in the summer for a reported €54m (!!) — and if they are to spend big on established stars, they would go for Neymar or Christian Eriksen instead.
💥 Informa Paco González:
➡️ "Ahora mismo no hay ningún cambio en la planificación deportiva del Real Madrid."
— El Partidazo de COPE (@partidazocope) October 9, 2018
Then there’s this: Florentino Perez is going to remodel the Bernabéu, giving it a wrap-around metallic skin and retractable roof. The price tag is reported to be a hefty £515m and they will need to finance it with loans after a sponsorship deal fell through in September of 2017. Perez is pressing ahead with the remodel anyway, putting the club on the hook for about €25m a year.
Real Madrid of course remain a massively wealthy club. They have also spent massively. But that may be changing. The signs since the beginning of last summer have been that they’re departing from their “buy all the Galácticos” style of assembling a team. They are still spending big — Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo cost a combined €100m — but the priorities are new.
If COPE’s report is true, then the Real Madrid side of the Eden Hazard story is that they have no intention of spending that kind of money on his soon-to-be 28-year-old legs, which means Chelsea get to keep a player who’s reaching new heights under Maurizio Sarri’s guidance.