Real Madrid would be the winners from a Marcelo-Alex Sandro swap deal
Juventus are considering uniting Marcelo with former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo by sending Alex Sandro as a makeweight.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by Juventus, from Real Madrid, was a clear statement of intent in regards to their European ambitions. He has won the last three consecutive Champions League titles as well as five in total with two different teams. Therefore, his availability on the market this summer was their best chance of achieving success in the short-term.
According to Tuttosport, Marcelo could be joining Ronaldo in January due to his close bond with his former teammates as well as his dislike of current manager, Julen Lopetegui. Juventus would be willing to use Alex Sandro as part of a swap deal plus cash in order to entice Los Blancos. Sandro has been the target of multiple clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea, but an offer failed to materialise in the summer.
New rules implemented by UEFA mean that players can now play for two teams in European competitions in the same season. Therefore, Marcelo could contribute to La Vecchia Signora’s campaign to win the Champions League for the first time in 23 years even if he plays in the group stages with Real. He has shown in recent seasons that he can be a difference-maker creatively even though he is nominally a left-back. Zinedine Zidane’s free-flowing attacking system suited him because he basically acted as a wide playmaker.
The Brazilian would certainly be an upgrade on their current options attacking-wise because Sandro is more of a traditional full-back while Leonardo Spinazzola doesn’t have the same level of ability. He would also fit in to a 3-5-2 system which they have often used in recent seasons. Leonardo Bonucci’s return means that set-up is likely to make an appearance for the big games, such as in Europe, so Marcelo would have the attacking freedom to charge down the left flank as a wing-back.
Nonetheless, this would represent a short-term option and add to the calculated gamble they have already made by signing Ronaldo. They have managed to dominate domestically over the last seven seasons through smart signings in the transfer windows and long-term planning. Failing to achieve European glory could see them rue these major financial decisions because it could come at the expense of the advantage they have domestically.
Talented prospect Mattia Caldara has already left the club as part of the deal to bring Bonucci back. Players such as Caldara are their insurance for the future once stalwarts such as Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli retire. Significant financial resources were required to bring in Ronaldo – €100 million transfer fee and £500,00 a week contract – and Marcelo would require a large contract to bring him in, so it’s likely that some players would have to be offloaded.
Replacing a 27-year-old with a 30-year-old isn’t a bad long-term decision, but there isn’t a large difference in ability and the resources needed to enact it outweighs the marginal difference it could make in terms of success. They can almost guarantee success domestically, so him and Ronaldo would only be needed to bridge the gap in Europe which translates to a few knockout games.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, would receive a solid replacement who could potentially be sold on for a profit to a Premier League team within a few seasons, if needed. They would lose one of their best players, but the system Lopetegui is implementing makes them stronger collectively by applying a structure to their play and relying less on individuals. Real also have the money and status to poach a top left-back from another European club.
Losing Marcelo has little effect on their chances of winning the Champions League because they have already lost their top scorer as well as their three-peat winning manager, so they are up against the odds, regardless. It also might benefit morale to lose a player who isn’t on best terms with the manager and could attempt to undermine him.