Should Real Madrid finally sell Mariano Diaz in January?

Mariano Diaz of Real Madrid (Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Mariano Diaz of Real Madrid (Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz has been linked to a loan move for the past three transfer windows, yet nothing has materialized.

Mariano Diaz is a talented player who has earned the respect of Real Madrid fans for his attitude. Despite barely playing since being repurchased from Lyon before the 2018-2019 season, he has never complained. In fact, he has done the opposite. Mariano has kept his head down and done whatever he can to earn his spot, even if it’s to his own detriment.

Earlier this year, Mariano was rewarded with a moment of magic against Barcelona. He scored the game-sealing goal in El Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu, racing towards the goal after the throw-in and beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen for a good solo goal.

But Mariano was never able to follow up on that goal, as he’s been back down the pecking order at Real Madrid.

For about a year, Los Blancos have been trying to get Mariano to agree to a loan deal. Many mid-tier clubs have been interested, and the team that seemed the closest to signing Mariano was Benfica. In the end, though, Mariano would not sign with Benfica, who could not accept his current wages.

So now, Mariano is back where he started. He has made one appearance this season, coming on for 14 minutes against Valencia after Karim Benzema’s injury. It’s worth noting that Mariano entered the pitch before Luka Jovic, and that may mean he’s moved ahead of Jovic. That is doubtful, though. That Mariano’s lone appearance through eight La Liga matches and three Champions League matches this season is a meaningless 14 minutes in a 4-1 loss after Benzema was injured tells you all you need to know.

The rumors of Mariano’s future loan are back. Defensa Central says that he could go to West Ham, who have interest in acquiring Luka Jovic or Mariano Diaz. They report that while Real would like to loan Jovic, which makes sense, they would prefer to sell Mariano.

Because at this point, there is no purpose in loaning Mariano. He is a good player, but he is 27 and already entering his prime. Real Madrid have eyes on younger strikers behind Benzema or to replace Benz in the future, such as Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland.

Mariano could be a nice veteran backup, but Real will transition Benzema to that role if they acquire Haaland or Kylian Mbappe to play striker.

So selling Mariano is the best option. Real Madrid need as much cash as possible in order to afford dream signings Mbappe, Haaland, Eduardo Camavinga, and a center back like Dayot Upamecano or Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

While a Mariano sale won’t generate much cash, it will help and will also free up wages. It will also enable a talented, hard-working striker to obtain an opportunity elsewhere to shine. West Ham would be another crowded place for Mariano with the likes of Jovic’s former striker partner Sebastien Haller, but they could afford his wages. More importantly, it would be easier for Mariano to break into the lineup there than at Real with Benzema and Jovic in the side.

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January sales are unlikely for Real Madrid, since they don’t like to lose depth or make moves in the winter windows. But if they get the right offer and Mariano wants to go, then it may be better to make a move sooner instead of waiting. Worst comes to worst, they can always experiment with Rodrygo Goes as the No. 9.