Real Madrid now feel it is “almost impossible” to sign one of the Premier League’s top strikers in this window, and are turning their attention to Valencia’s Rodrigo and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe with one week of the market remaining.
The European champions are focused on bringing in an attacking star to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, and all of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard had been high on their list for a long time. Despite president Florentino Perez usually priding himself on the fact Madrid can generally “do deals other clubs cannot” and pull off the impossible, there is a realisation that the English clubs just will not budge on any of their stars, with that further complicated by the fact the Bernabeu hierarchy do not want to spend more than €120m (£108m). The nature of this market means it would likely take well above that – likely over €160m (£144m) – to force any of those clubs to even consider a deal.
New boss Julen Lopetegui however is insistent that he wants an attacker, and preferably a proper goalscorer. Rodrigo is an option from Valencia, although some within the Madrid hierarchy are cooler on the Spanish international. World Cup star Mbappe would be the ideal and, although he would usually cost around €180m (£162m), there is a feeling a deal may be possible if Paris Saint-Germain are sanctioned for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations. There is still a line of contact between Madrid and Neymar’s camp, but that deal is seen as unlikelier, even in the event of the French champions being punished.
Madrid will push for a striker in the last week, as they realise the even more basic need to replace some of Ronaldo’s goals, but Premier League clubs can breather easier.
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