Real Madrid’s sums don't add up

Every morning, the small business owners of Spain are peering into the pages of Marca and AS to discover if Alvaro Negredo has decided that Hull City’s for him or if Aston Villa are willing to stump up the cash for pocket-rocket, Wesley Sneijder. After all, these two transfers are the last, best hope for the country’s struggling entrepreneurs of making it through the summer in these terribly tough financial times. La Liga Loca suspects that Spain’s banks had to hand over every spare cent to fund Real Madrid’s quarter-of-a-billion-euro splurge on their fancy-pants footballers. And that’s even taking into account the €90 million that ex-prez Ramón Calderón claims he left in the club’s kitty before stepping down to spent a lot of time in court. Of course, that figure may have been a little higher had the club not had to pay off members of staff who were forced to quit having been accused of vote-rigging at the club’s AGM back in December. However, El País is just one of the papers who report that the plan hatched in Castle Greyskull was to sell a good €100 million worth of unwanted wasters - mainly of the Dutch variety - to start paying back the insane sums that had been borrowed. Funds that may in turn be lent to the good, good, people of Spain who actually need it, as opposed to an ego-bursting club president who simply wants to be adored. However, not everything has gone to plan in the Spanish capital with a rather limp and droopy €32 million or so having been raised so far, instead. Javier Saviola moved to Benfica for €5 million (much of which went to pay off his contract). The same club also stumped up €7 million for Javi García.

Dani Parejo joined Getafe for €3 million, Heinze joined Marseille for €1.5 million and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hooked up with AC Milan for €15 million after escaping from a packing crate stamped with the destination ‘Stuttgart’.The problem with that final deal is that, according to Marca, €7 million must be paid to Ajax as part of the agreement negotiated by Ramón Calderón during the purchase of the player last December. In one of the worst football transfers ever, a striker who cost €20 million has been sold for €8 million some eight months later. And couldn’t be used in the Champions League, either. But Huntelaar is unique in being the only ‘Tulip’ - as the Spanish press call those coming from Holland - who moved from the Bernabeu. As Wednesday’s Marca complains, “the Dutchmen refuse to leave” with a picture of Robben, Sneijder, Drenthe, Van der Vaart and Van Nistelrooy on the front cover and all looking very comfortable indeed, thank you very much.

There are two reasons why Florentino Pérez and Jorge Valdano want to pass the Dutchies on the left hand side.

The first is that most have some transfer value. The second is that they were bought by the ancient régime and therefore unwanted under the rule of Florentino II.

The fact that they could be useful next season doesn’t really come into play. The problem is that not everyone agrees that these are the footballers that should be shipped out, except in Van der Vaart’s case perhaps. Manuel Pellegrini has already said that he is counting on Sneijder and Van Nistelrooy in the new campaign. Arjen Robben has performed well in the pre-season games and the much-maligned Royston Drenthe has been a near ever-present throughout the summer playing in a variety of positions on the left.

In a recent talk with the midfielder, a defiant Drenthe told La Liga Loca that he intended to fight for a place with Madrid next season.“If there was a transfer list, then Robben wouldn’t be on it,” confirmed the Chilean coach after the weekend’s 3-0 over DC United.Unfortunately for Pellegrini, his bosses would beg to differ. And besides, the Real Madrid manager has about as much say in team affairs as Toni, the window-cleaner.

But no matter how much huffing and puffing there is being done in the toppest towers of Castle Greyskull with the ‘it’s not fair’ refrain, it’s not going to be easy to shift players who don’t want to leave, are on long contracts and earn more money than most other clubs in Europe are able to pay at the moment. So it’s good news for the Tulips, but bad news for the small businesses of Spain.

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