Real Madrid have spent €175.7m building their team of the future. Of the current squad assembled by president Florentino Perez and head coach Zinedine Zidane, 11 were bought at the age of 20 or younger. Those 11 include Fede Valverde, Martin Odegaard, Marco Asencio, Dani Ceballos, Takefusa Kubo, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Jesus Vallejo, Reinier, Brahim Diaz and Andriy Lunin. All were bought for a total of €175.7m. Now the value of this list of players is €355.5m, a difference of €179.8, according to Transfermarkt.
Box-to-box midfielder Valverde was signed from Uruguayan giants Peñarol for €5m. He is now worth €60m. Martin Odegaard was signed for €2.8m, he is now worth €50. Madrid want the Norwegian to return from his loan spell with Real Sociedad at the end of the season, and it is now up to the player to make a decision on whether to spend another year on loan in the Basque country or return to the Spanish capital.
Marco Asensio arrived for €3.9m, in October 2018 the winger was valued at €90m. Long-term injuries have seen his price drop to €40m. Still, a massive profit based on the original transfer fee.
Dani Ceballos’ value has increased by €23.5m; he is valued at €40 and was signed from Real Betis for €16.5m. Brahim Diaz’s value has dropped five million since signing in January 2019 from Manchester City. Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin joined Los Blancos from Zorya Lugansk in 2018; his value has dropped slightly, spending the last two seasons on loan to several clubs, including Ronaldo’s Real Valladolid.
Out of the 11 signings, there are three Brazilians. The latest addition to the Santiago Bernabéu is Reinier, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder, who has been compared to Kaka – the player he adored as a youngster. Brazilian scout Juni Calafat is the man behind Madrid’s transfer success in South America, particularly in Brazil. Credited with recommending defensive midfielder Casemiro, he built up a reputation for himself and is now Madrid’s man on the ground in the magical land of Brazilian football.
Calafat, who is Spanish, but speaks fluent Portuguese, spent 14 months holding meetings with Vinicius and his family before Madrid reached an agreement with Flamengo in the summer of 2017. Reinier also came from the same club, Calafat was instrumental again. Reinier, who completed his move to the Bernabéu in January after turning 18, was wanted by Manchester City and PSG. Calafat had been speaking with his family for three years, a process that began when he was working on the Vinicius to Madrid deal.
Japanese winger Takefusa Kubo, formerly of rivals Barcelona signed on a free. Currently, on loan to relegation-threatened Mallorca, he is gaining valuable experience. A Japanese international, he is worth €15m and is still just 18 years old.
Spanish 23-year-old defender Jesus Vallejo is currently on loan to Granada CF. With Sergio Ramos now 34, having the likes of Vallejo to come back in after gaining experience with Wolves in the Premier League and Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga, will be important in the club’s succession planning.
Real Madrid’s transfer strategy has shifted. They’re identifying youth, particularly in Brazil. Rodrygo Goes, worth €50m and Vinicius Junior, worth €45m have featured plenty in the 2019-20 campaign. Zinedine Zidane’s favours the skillful attacking prospects over the experienced pair of Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.
James has been linked with a move to the Premier League, only featuring in a handful of games for Zidane, meanwhile, Gareth Bale’s future seems to also lie elsewhere, partly in an attempt to cut the club’s wage bill. The Welshman has featured just 18 times in all competitions this season, scoring three goals.
Madrid are building a core of excellent young players with the intention of reaping the rewards of smart business in the transfer market over the next few years. An aging group of experienced players in Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are looking over their shoulders as the next generation comes through.