The Hard Tackle analyses Real Madrid’s transfer business and gives its verdict on the La Liga giants’ performance in the summer window.
As the dust settles on the summer transfer window of 2021, it is time to sit back and take stock of what went down in what was easily the most memorable windows of all time. Absolutely nobody could have imagined seeing both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo trade clubs in the same window, with the former’s exit from Barcelona especially coming as a huge shocker.
Like Messi’s departure from Camp Nou, the Santiago Bernabeu also saw one of its greatest legends leave as long-serving defender and club captain Sergio Ramos ended up leaving Real Madrid on a free transfer. There was another high-profile exit from the Spanish capital outfit with Ramos’ long-term defensive partner Raphael Varane also securing a move to Manchester United.
As for the incomings, Real Madrid were largely hamstrung by the lack of finances due to the pandemic and stadium renovation costs, which meant only two players came in, one on a free transfer. While they went after Kylian Mbappe ardently late in the window, PSG were unrelenting on their stance, meaning a move did not materialise.
The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at the La Liga giants’ business in the summer transfer window in 2021.
INS: David Alaba (free), Eduardo Camavinga.
OUTS: Sergio Ramos (free), Raphael Varane, Martin Odegaard, Brahim Diaz (loan), Takefusa Kubo (loan), Alvaro Odriozola (loan).
MVA (Most Valuable Addition): David Alaba
Both the signings that Real Madrid made this summer, in the form of David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga, bring a lot of value to the squad. In Alaba, the Merengues have gotten themselves a proven winner who has been there and done it all, while in Camavinga, they have a star in the making, a player who is destined for great heights.
So, to pick one as the most valuable addition was a tricky one. However, we are leaning towards Alaba as our pick, considering the overall value he adds to the team. A replacement for Ramos at the heart of the defence, Alaba also adds valuable depth in the left-back department and has already made a fine impression in his first couple of matches, playing on the left of the backline.
Alaba also brings with him a wealth of experience and winning mentality that becomes necessary for a Real Madrid team that is very much in a transitional phase under new manager Carlo Ancelotti. A leader on the field, in his prime years, and on a free transfer, the Austrian international has the potential to be an excellent addition for Los Blancos in the immediate sense and for a few years to come.
Shrewd Work (A Departure That Is Ideal For All Parties): Alvaro Odriozola
Martin Odegaard’s departure is something that can be considered a good deal for all parties involved. But despite Real Madrid getting a sizable transfer fee, there will always be a lingering feeling of what could have been, considering that amazing talent that the Norwegian possesses. In the case of Alvaro Odriozola, though, everyone will be satisfied with the final outcome of the deal.
A player who has been at Real Madrid for a few years now without really making an impact, it had become quite clear that Odriozola was very much unlikely to make it big with the Merengues. With Dani Carvajal returning to full fitness and Lucas Vazquez signing a new contract in the summer, Odriozola’s prospects of regular game-time had completely diminished.
So, leaving the club for Serie A side Fiorentina, even if it is just on loan, will come as a good change for the right-back. He stands a better chance of featuring much more regularly in Italy while Fiorentina get their hands on a footballer with the exposure of playing at the highest level. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have cut a member of the squad that had little to no part in manager Ancelotti’s plans.
The Big Miss (A Player Who Should Have Left): Mariano Diaz
There were a few options for this section, with Gareth Bale, Luka Jovic, Isco and Mariano Diaz all being considered. However, in the case of Bale, Ancelotti has decided to reintegrate him into the squad, with the Welshman showing glimpses of his quality early in the season. Isco has started the season well, too, indicating that he may still have a part to play.
Jovic, despite his struggles, has age on his side and, with no backup for Karim Benzema in the centre-forward slot, could have a role in the side, leaving Mariano as the odd one out. The 28-year-old has been nothing more than a fringe player since returning to Real Madrid from Lyon in 2018 and has not featured in any of Real Madrid’s first few games of the season, indicating where he stands in Ancelotti’s plans.
Dani Ceballos was another candidate, but his injury made it impossible for Real Madrid to secure a club for the Spaniard, which is why we lean towards Mariano Diaz as the big miss for Real Madrid this summer. The fact that he still had two years on his contract meant that the 28-year-old would have fetched the Merengues a decent fee as well, which will not be the case next year when he will not have played much and entered the last twelve months of his deal.
Final Verdict: A MIXED BAG
As iterated earlier, the signings of David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga are both brilliant deals for Real Madrid this summer. However, they once again head into the season without having an able partner/backup for Karim Benzema, having left it way too late in the window to push for Kylian Mbappe’s signing.
Furthermore, having lost two of their ace defenders, Real Madrid opted to sign only one, which leaves them a bit short on quality at the back, too. Finally, their inability to move some of the deadwood from the squad, such as Mariano Diaz, Isco, Ceballos, Jovic, also means they are left with a squad that could have done with some more trimming.