The fire sale starts now

Real Madrid's European reign came to an abrupt end on Tuesday.
Real Madrid's European reign came to an abrupt end on Tuesday. / AFP

  • Back-to-back Barça defeats and Champions League elimination must surely now signal the start of the rebuild for Real Madrid

It's going to be like one of those furniture sales you see around Christmas time: "Billions of pounds' worth of stock must go!"

Real Madrid need to ignite a fire sale; not one player can be assured of a locker at the Bernabéu next season. It's said that every footballer has his price and this could well be proven this summer. It's become increasingly obvious that the reigning European champions must start again, almost from scratch. There must be a mass clear-out and major reinvestment.

Gareth Bale, a Champions League final winning hero, is already working his notice; Luka Modrić, the current Ballon d'Or holder, has reached his sell-by date; Isco needs a new challenge; even Sergio Ramos's shirt isn't safe.

The problem is that the stock of each player has dropped dramatically over the past twelve months. Bale may interest his old club Tottenham, but he could just be a part exchange for Dele Alli or Harry Kane - maybe both?

Isco has suffered a miserable couple of years and needs an institution that can recognise his talents. If Chelsea can avert their transfer ban with an appeal, they could be tempted to swap the Spain international for Eden Hazard.

Even Mohamed Salah may be on the shopping list for Real Madrid who will have to break the bank to bring in a Galático. I'm not sure there's a player at the capital club who would interest Liverpool, though.

After the debacle of back-to-back defeats to Barcelona and Champions League elimination, there are very few players who would be guaranteed to make a retained list. Vinícius Júnior, Thibaut Courtois, Marco Asensio and possibly Raphaël Varane are the future of the club and there will be places for the labourers like Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez.

The most significant decision is who will be given responsibility for the biggest recruitment drive in many decades.

There was never a reason given for Zinedine Zidane's sudden departure, but I suspect it had something to do with him having little say in the transfer policy. His successors Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari have just been puppets for the president. The next man must be allowed to be the chief architect.

I suspect that Mauricio Pochettino would have leapt at an offer to return to La Liga some months ago but since then things have festered. It's not unlike the situation at Manchester United where it has taken almost six years for the positivity to return to the club.

There is talk of José Mourinho returning and he has his cheerleaders in the Spanish media. (That's a rarity - using cheer and Mourinho in the same sentence!) But it needs somebody special and he's no longer 'The Special One'.

Get ready for the exodus - it starts right here, right now!