Real Madrid want to sell four players to fund Neymar transfer
Real Madrid are at a crossroads, on and off the pitch.
Madrid are in fourth place in La Liga, 19 points behind Barcelona, and were dumped out of the Copa Del Rey by minnows Leganes earlier this week. Their big stars haven't hit past heights this season, Cristiano Ronaldo is unhappy and agitating for an improved contract, and Zinedine Zidane seems almost certain to lose his job unless the team can retain the Champions League.
The tie with Paris Saint-Germain next month appears to have provided Zidane with a stay of execution, but, despite their struggles, it would take a brave person to bet against Madrid advancing past the Qatari-owned enterprise. They still have world-class players who can perform on the big stage, and Ronaldo has saved his best form for the European Cup in recent times. Yet, even if they can turn it on for a final hurrah in club football's top competition, change looks to be coming to the Spanish side.
According to Miguel Delaney, writing in The Independent, Madrid are planning a "major renovation" in the summer, and hope to sell as many as four high-profile players to fund the purchase of Neymar from PSG. According to the report:
- Madrid feel that the "BBC" - Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo - are no longer untouchable, and their time as the stars of the team has come to an end.
- The club hasn't signed a major star since buying James Rodriguez in 2014, and want to make a splash this summer. They feel that Neymar ticks every box, in terms of star quality, and world class ability. He's also only 25, and therefore capable of being the star of the team for the next few seasons.
- Madrid are confident that they can land Neymar, despite the fact that PSG will resist any sale this summer.
- To make the transfer happen, the Spanish side will need to raise around £500m in transfer fees and wages. Madrid aren't as cash rich as they have been in the past, so they will need to sell players to raise this money.
- Top Premier League clubs "have been told of the possibility that there could be good business to be done with Real, and potentially some big names available."
It appears that Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema will all be available to buy this summer, and Real will listen to offers for other players. The report also claims that, while Manchester United aren't as interested in Ronaldo as they were in the past, they would be open to the possibility of signing Raphael Varane, Casemiro or Toni Kroos if Real are prepared to sell.
If Madrid can't sign Neymar, their other transfer targets are understood to be Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and either Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea. However, the report claims that they would prefer to sign the Brazilian forward ahead of all of these players. Neymar is still in his first season at PSG, but there are already reports claiming that he would be open to a move to Madrid, and he is unhappy with life at the Qatari club.