- Diaz set to leave Real Madrid
- Madrid view Joselu as a replacement
- Espanyol's relegation makes their pursuit easier
WHAT HAPPENED? With Diaz set to leave the club after his contract ends in the summer, Real Madrid are looking at potential replacements in the market. According to AS, they have closed in on Espanyol's Joselu, who has a clause in his contract that states his salary will be reduced by half following the club's relegation to the Spanish Segunda. However, if he receives a contract offer from Real that matches his current earnings at the Catalan club, then the team management will be forced to sell him.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: As a result of Espanyol dropping out of La Liga, Los Blancos can sign Joselu as a free agent, despite his contract expiring on June 30, 2025. He has a salary of around €3m per season and Madrid will have to match that amount.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Joselu is a product of Real Madrid's youth set-up, and was the first-choice centre-forward for the Castilla side that won promotion to the Second Division in the 2011-12 season. He played a key role in that team, scoring 24 goals, which saw him seal a transfer to Hoffenheim in a deal worth €6m.
This season, he has scored 17 goals across all competitions for Espanyol and has also emerged as the Spaniard with the most goals (16) in La Liga, ahead of Alvaro Morata, who has 13. He was rewarded with a national team call-up by coach Luis de la Fuente for his performances in the domestic league and he repaid his trust by scoring two goals in a Euro 2024 qualifying clash against Norway.
IN TWO PHOTOS:Getty Images Getty Images
DID YOU KNOW? Joselu was handed his Real Madrid senior team debut by Jose Mourinho in the 2010-11 season against Almeria in an 8-1 win, and he scored on his first appearance. The following season, he was introduced in the 78th minute in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 32 against Ponferradina and he scored again. Hence, he has two Real Madrid senior goals to his name in just 18 minutes of action.
The striker took in a spell at Newcastle United between 2017 and 2019, but struggled for consistency on Tyneside as he found the net just seven times in 52 appearances.
WHAT NEXT? Real Madrid are confident they can wrap up the transfer once the season ends, and the player will be available for pre-season.