Real Madrid Transfers: This is shaping up to be a critical summer for Florentino Perez

Florentino Perez of Real Madrid (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Florentino Perez of Real Madrid (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez cannot afford to strike out in another summer transfer window.

Florentino Perez carries an aura of untouchability around him. But at a club like Real Madrid, nobody is beyond reproach nor consequences.

Perez’s transfer new transfer philosophy enacted over the past couple of years is not entirely flawed. The premise of it makes a lot of sense. Real Madrid wanted to sign young prospects BEFORE they blew up into global superstars. They wanted to invest in youth and get their foot in the door early, so to speak.

The problem is that this approach takes time. You need to nurture those players. If they are going to be in the first team, you have to actually play them and be willing to drop a few points when they inevitably make mistakes. And if you don’t have a spot for them, you have to do your research and find that young player a loan which will truly benefit them. You can’t just accept a semi-prestigious club’s, “Dude, trust me.”

Takefusa Kubo wasted almost half a season at Villarreal. Reinier Jesus almost never plays for Borussia Dortmund. And Luka Jovic spent 18 months doing next to nothing for Real Madrid after being signed for 60 million euros. Eder Militao and Alvaro Odriozola are at risk of a similar fate. Even Vinicius Junior is finding it hard to get into the lineup.

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Perez’s transfer strategy lacked a clear cohesive plan from coaching staff to scouting department. And now, Real Madrid are left staring down a crucial 2021 transfer window during an economic crisis in football after they made no moves in 2020 and seemingly wasted hundreds of millions of euros in the 2019 window.

I’m not saying Perez’s presidency and legacy are at stake, because that’s a leap I’m not willing to make yet. But I am saying this: If Real Madrid cannot complete a successful 2021 summer transfer window, then Perez will feel the heat for the first time in years.

By not making signings in 2020 despite selling the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon – two loans that actually did pay off handsomely – Real sent a clear message that they are going “all in” for Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

Those two superstars are very much the game-changers Los Blancos. And they are still on the table. But with Barcelona suddenly heavily linked to Haaland in 2021 and Mbappe leaving PSG looking somewhat less likely, Real cannot guarantee either young superstar goal-scorer. Failing to sign either player in 2021 or 2022 would put all the stress on Real’s current young crop of forwards, which includes players who are either being loaned out or are struggling to get the playing time and chances that Haaland and Mbappe received at the same age.

Real Madrid have fallen short when it comes to developing the young talent they invested in, and some of that is understandable. How can a team with Real’s sky-high expectations accept simple mistakes and dropped points? They cannot be as gracious in allowing youth to fail in order to succeed; that is why they cannot do what, say, Dortmund did with Hakimi in his first season.

But because they fell short by not carefully planning and being realistic with this strategy, they have put all their eggs back in the “Galactico” basket. Before the pandemic, completing these signings was difficult enough. In the COVID-19 world, calling such operations “difficult” is a comical understatement.

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The 2021 summer transfer window may be make-or-break for Real Madrid. If Mbappe re-signs with PSG and Haaland leaves Dortmund for Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City, or elsewhere, Perez may be left grasping at straws. And Los Blancos just might have to go “all in” on their current youth in 2021-2022, absorbing all the bumps in the road this would entail.