Austerity does not imply a lack of ambition at Real Madrid

Austerity does not imply a lack of ambition at Real Madrid

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During every summer transfer window, rumours are always rife surrounding the next big signing Real Madrid are preparing to make. Following the arrival of David Alaba on a free transfer from Bayern Munich, we may have some hints about the direction the club is taking. Many fans will be hoping for a couple of blockbuster purchases, although a lack of spending power might leave them a little disappointed before the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Moving on from the Super League debacle

When he spearheaded the concept of a new Super League competition, aimed at drawing together the richest and most powerful clubs in European football, Florentino Perez undoubtedly did so with the best of intentions in his view. Unfortunately, the way he chose to announce this new competition was perhaps rather misguided, via Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones.

As more news began to filter about participating clubs and a possible separation from UEFA competitions, the whole idea was widely ridiculed and lambasted by fans. Amidst huge pressure from the media and protests by football supporters around Europe, founding members of the proposed Super League quickly began jumping ship. The whole thing soon fell apart, with just Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus left standing.

While this whole charade left Perez with egg on his face, the reasoning behind the idea was simple. He wanted clubs to have more control over revenue streams from European competitions, rather than UEFA. Increased revenue streams would also help Real Madrid to maintain their previous levels of spending, able to compete on more equal terms to sign the best players in the world.

Regardless of the magnificent success achieved by Real Madrid, the club simply cannot sustain the previous levels of spending. Without the benefit an oil-rich state or a Russian oligarch supplying limitless funds, Perez needs to rely on revenue generated entirely by the club itself. Despite being one of the most astute and highly regarded businessmen in football, there is always a limit to how far any funds and financing can be stretched.

Searching for better value in a complicated market

The biggest challenge facing Real Madrid will be readjusting their finances. The continually soaring levels of spending in football are unsustainable, which means that Perez must now seek to cut costs wherever he can. The ongoing work to upgrade and improve the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is inevitably a heavy economic burden, albeit one that will pay dividends in the long run.

In the meantime, Perez and Real Madrid need to reduce overall spending across the whole club. That implies careful thought when it comes to player contract renewals, along with a greater emphasis on value when making new signings. This has already been highlighted by the departure of Sergio Ramos and the arrival of David Alaba.

Nobody wanted to see Ramos leave, yet his contract and wage expectations were not good value for a player of his age. Alaba joins on a contract which the club can more comfortably afford, at the prime of his footballing career and with several years left in the tank. While the financial intricacies of running a football club may be difficult to comprehend at times, looking for value should be something we as fans aim for too.

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Perez refusing to gamble with the future of Real Madrid

Recent years may have been turbulent in the football world, even to the extent that Real Madrid has found itself plunged into the murky waters of economic difficulty. For such a powerful club to be affected suggests an impending change of direction in football, even though Perez will undoubtedly do his utmost to ensure this club will remain at the forefront of the European game.

Transfer spending at Real Madrid may be reduced compared to previous years, austerity and cautious investment will be the priority for Perez over the coming seasons, yet that does not imply any lack of ambition. Quite the contrary, because this club will always aim for the highest heights, battling to win silverware and striving for honours. Faces may change on the pitch, although the same hunger for success will always be present.