The need for a striker in 2024 is non-negotiable for Real Madrid. While Endrick’s arrival on July 21st is exciting for the future, his short-term potential raises concerns. He will need time to adapt, minutes, and a phase of adaptation. It is not excluded that he will play for Castilla, the reserve team, and then move up to the first team when the time is right. Endrick is a valuable asset, but he is not enough. In the race for the number nine position, two players stand out: Haaland and Mbappé.
Real Madrid is keeping a close eye on them, but there is already a sense of inevitable skepticism from the club. They have learned from past experiences. The first and foremost commandment at Chamartín is that the project will not be mortgaged for any player. This is the foundation upon which the club is built. They are the preferred options, but no one will go crazy over them. Not at this stage. The cards are on the table, and both players will be available in 2024. Each player in their way, but only one can be signed. At least for now.
Mbappé: Free agent?
Mbappé’s contract expires on June 30th, so he could arrive at Chamartín completely free, except for a signing bonus that seems inevitable. However, PSG should not pay him anything if he does not renew his contract. Last summer, he announced by letter that he would not activate the extra year (until 2025). The club responded by leaving him out of preseason, and after weeks of turmoil, including the possibility of him spending a year in the stands, he held out without renewing his contract. Mbappé weathered the storm and is now in the final year of his contract.
Will he renew his contract after the season? That is the question. Only Kylian knows the answer. He has shown over the years that he has a talent for doing things his way, like Frank Sinatra. He doesn’t succumb to anything, and he doesn’t leak anything. His surname is mystery. The only thing that is known is what was reported a week ago: PSG believes that if they win the Champions League (an eternal dream), it could be used as a key to convince him to stay. In any case, the decision won’t be made until the summer. Mbappé is in his “last year” with doubts: he has just ended a four-game goalless streak and was heavily criticized after the Newcastle game. His PSG team is currently third in the league. It has been a tumultuous year for the Bondy native, who has scored nine goals in ten games (three doubles). The fact that he has those numbers in a “bad moment” says a lot.
Haaland: The famous clause
Haaland’s situation has always been more distant. He signed with Manchester City until 2027 and has always confessed to being happy there. He fits in with the fans, the team, and Guardiola. There hasn’t been a single battle that has put him on the market, and everything has revolved around paying an unpayable clause. It was impossible, so it wasn’t even attempted. However, everything changes in 2024: a clause of between 180 and 200 million will be activated, but only for teams outside the Premier League. That means that for that price (or less, if he were to enter into a difficult but not impossible negotiation with City), Real Madrid could sign him.
From there, Chamartín will have to make a decision. Right now, Haaland is also coming out of a delicate moment: he has gone four games without scoring (his cityzen drought ended against Brighton), and with the Euro almost impossible (his chances of finishing in the top two are over, and the playoffs look remote). Like Kylian and the greats, his numbers are spectacular even in a gray moment: nine goals in 13 games.