Real Madrid can boast about having one of the strongest squads in Europe, but the price of having a squad littered with international stars is that everyone wants to play – and there are only 11 places available on the pitch. Carlo Ancelotti has already signed Antonio Rudiger ahead of next season and it seems inevitable some players will have to leave to make way.
The LaLiga champions will face off against Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final, marking a rematch of the 2018 final in Kyiv that Real won 3-1. But it could be the final time some Real players feature in the club’s famous white shirt, with several summer departures expected.
Express Sport looks at eight players who could be at risk of being sold or released this summer – and which Premier League clubs could swoop to land themselves a bargain.
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After an £ 85million transfer and nine seasons in Spain, Gareth Bale’s time at Real Madrid is coming to an end this summer. His agent Jonathan Barnett has confirmed he will leave when his deal expires in June and hinted a return to England could be on the cards.
“He leaves Real Madrid, but we have to wait for what Wales will be able to do,” Barnett told Portuguese outlet Record. “It all depends on whether Wales qualify for the World Cup, then we will make a decision. Is he more likely to return to England? I think so, but we’ll have to wait and see if Wales qualifies for the World Cup. “
Bale spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Tottenham where he scored 17 goals and Spurs may be one of his potential destinations, along with big-spending Newcastle. But it seems more likely that the 32-year-old will return to his hometown with Cardiff City in order to ensure he gets enough playing time if Wales reach the World Cup, with the Bluebirds keen on a move.
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Asensio’s chances of leaving Real Madrid have decreased after Kylian Mbappe opted to stay at PSG. But it is not impossible to imagine the winger taking on a new challenge after six years with the La Liga champions.
Despite making only 19 La Liga starts this season, Asensio scored 10 goals – his best return since joining the club in 2016. But at the age of 26, the Spaniard will be hoping to be playing regularly, which is no guarantee given the talent in Real’s front-line such as Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.
Arsenal and Liverpool have both been linked with the Mallorca trainee for some time, with AC Milan, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund also in contention for his signature should he decide to leave this summer.
It was not meant to end acrimoniously, but after 16 years of loyal service, Marcelo is leaving Real Madrid with a sour taste in his mouth. The left-back was keen to renew his contract despite losing his regular place in the side of Ferland Mendy, but has not been offered a new deal by the club and was left furious with the decision after a widely-reported conversation with Lucas Vazquez.
At 34, the Brazilian is clearly approaching the final years of his career but his experience would make him a valuable member of any dressing room. It would not be out of the question to see the veteran full-back move to Arsenal or Chelsea, given both Mikel Arteta and Thomas Tuchel are searching for defensive cover in wide areas.
Like Bale, Isco’s long-running association with Madrid is coming to an end after being on the periphery for a number of years. The 29-year-old would represent a smart option for clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham, who are keen to bolster their squad depth.
Or Everton, who may be looking to acquire some free transfers after making huge losses in recent years and with Donny van de Beek set to return to Manchester United. However, any Premier League club interested in the former Spain international may face competition from Serie A clubs AC Milan and Juventus, who appear to be leading the race for the free agent’s signature.
Back in 2019, Real paid £ 53m to sign Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt with the expectation that the Serbian would take over the baton from Karim Benzema as their leading striker. But his struggle to adjust to life in Spain, coupled with Benzema’s incredible form, has seen him used largely as a backup striker.
The 24-year-old has already returned to Frankfurt on loan during the 2020-21 season but failed to earn a permanent move. Arsenal had registered their interest in January last year only to see a loan move rebuffed, but with Arteta keen to add a striker to his squad, Jovic could prove to be a low-risk option if signed on loan.
Having spent two seasons on loan at Arsenal, it would be no surprise to see witness Ceballos returning to the north London outfit in some capacity this summer as Arteta searches for a central midfielder to add depth to his squad.
Out of contract in 2023, Real are expected to cash in on the 25-year-old rather than let him go for free next summer, although a return to boyhood club Real Betis seems like the most likely outcome.
“I still keep the words I said, my love for that team is unconditional,” Ceballos told Sport. “I left Betis back in the day because there was no sports project and the team was fighting not to go down to the Second Division. Nothing is closed, I have not spoken to the club at all, you know what I think of Betis. ”
A year after renewing his contract with Real Madrid, Vazquez must be wondering if he made the right decision. The versatile winger, who has also been used as a full-back, has proven to be a useful member of the Real squad under Zinedine Zidane and current boss Carlo Ancelotti.
But there is an accepted school of thought that the 30-year-old will never be good enough to lock dow a regular starting role in Madrid. Chelsea were one of the clubs interested in signing him for free in 2021 and, with Tuchel searching for wing-back depth on either flank, the German may be tempted into renewing his interest.