Real Madrid’s pursuit of footballing sensations Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham has evoked memories of the club’s free-spending Galacticos era in the early 2000s.
However, Real’s financial circumstances today are vastly different, raising questions about whether they can actually afford to sign these prodigious young talents.
Any deal for Bellingham is likely to exceed £100 million, while PSG would probably demand at least £200 million for Mbappe, especially with three years remaining on his recently extended contract.
On top of these exorbitant transfer fees would be monumental salaries to match, as Real looks to secure the services of players set to dominate world football for years to come.
Although lavish spending is woven into Real’s DNA, obstacles abound this time. Last summer, they sold 30% of revenue from their new Bernabeu stadium over the next 20 years to U.S. investors Sixth Street for €360 million.
While this infusion rescued Real from posting losses of €166 million, how UEFA classifies this income could determine whether it counts towards Financial Fair Play. If deemed debt rather than revenue, it may not be usable for transfers and wages.
Other clubs are closely monitoring this situation. What if Newcastle United, now Saudi-backed, sold future revenue and used it to fund transfers?
Real president Florentino Perez would surely object, having already complained to UEFA about PSG’s new Mbappe deal. Perez’s pursuit of a European Super League also reflects his political maneuvering.
Real and Barcelona have both sold future income to fund immediate needs, deals that would breach FFP if classed as debt. La Liga made a similar agreement, which Real and Barca rejected.
Pursuit of Mbappe and Bellingham Faces Financial Hurdles
Of the €360 million Sixth Street deal, €316 million went to Real last summer, leaving €78 million as of December after taxes.
This mainly covered extra stadium costs and salary obligations, revealing the rate at which Real burns through cash to overhaul an aging team and stadium.
The allure of playing for Real remains, and fans crave another showstopping transfer window. While Real has always found a way, all eyes are on how they’ll do it this time, and comply with UEFA, to land Bellingham and Mbappe. Pulling off this juggling act would prove Real still reigns supreme.