Real Madrid have endured a miserable campaign this year, and it could reportedly lead to a huge overhaul of Zinedine Zidane’s squad this summer.
Their defeat to Valencia on Wednesday night was their ninth of the La Liga campaign, as they sit in third place and 13 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Further, they crashed out of both the Copa del Rey and Champions League last month, and so now face the real disappointment of being left empty-handed after such a trophy-laden stint under Zidane the first time round.
The French tactician returned last month after underwhelming tenures for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari, and it appears as though there could be a huge number of changes made to the Real Madrid squad this summer.
According to AS, nine players could be sold to not only create space in the squad for a long-term overhaul, but also to raise the funds required to make their own marquee signings.
Raphael Varane, Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Isco, Marcelo, Matteo Kovacic, Mariano and Jesus Vallejo are all specifically named as possible candidates to be axed, with their respective valuations all adding up to around €500m.
While it’s easy to see some of those names moving on, the likes of Varane, Kroos, Isco and Marcelo have been fundamental figures in Zidane’s plans in the past and so question marks would have to be raised over the suggestion that he is ready to axe them now.
Real Madrid need to think of the long-term future and replace some of their ageing stalwarts, but there is also the risk of getting rid of too many players and ultimately running the gamble of leaving themselves without enough quality and depth to compete on multiple fronts next season.
L’Equipe, as noted by AS, have previously suggested that Real Madrid will arm themselves with a €500m transfer war chest this summer to sign Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba.
While the numbers could be more than just a coincidence, that trio would fill key voids while the signing of Eder Militao from Porto to address their defence has already been officially confirmed.