Ancelotti asks Real Madrid for a striker signing: Who are the options?
Real Madrid still depend on Karim Benzema for so many of their problems in the final third. The dependency on the Frenchman may not be as pronounced as it was last season, but there is still a tangible void on the field with him injured.
The situation is made significantly worse by the fact that Real Madrid have no direct replacement for the centre-forward.
Rodrygo and Marco Asensio have been used in Benzema’s position earlier this season, but it is quite clear that they belong wider on the field. The name of Mariano Diaz also pops to mind, but his exclusion from Carlo Ancelotti’s dynamics and imminent departure give him little purpose to prove himself.
According to reports from Sergio Santos, Ancelotti wants the club management to invest in a backup centre-forward at the earliest. He wishes for a player who can play regularly as a starter, especially given Benzema’s poor fitness record this season.
However, the Real Madrid board is said to have denied the manager’s request for the time being. The situation could well change at the end of the season based on the results of the club in various competitions.
Despite suffering repeated setbacks this season, Benzema has participated in 12 La Liga games for the Spanish giants and has scored nine goals in that duration. He averages a goal every 116 minutes and has three assists to his name.
The Frenchman is not only Real Madrid’s focal point in attack but also one of the most involved players in the Merengues’ build-up play. Furthermore, it is often his smart movements inside the box that lure opposition defenders out of position and open up spaces.
At 35 years of age, the Ballon d’Or winner’s best years are coming to an end. As age catches up with him, the Merengues must turn to the transfer market again for a replacement, preferably as early as the summer.
Who could provide cover for and eventually replace Benzema?
Strikers are always in abundance on the transfer market. However, what Los Blancos are searching for is a very specific profile in terms of a smart, yet lethal player inside the box.
A name that could interest the Real Madrid administration is Victor Osimhen. The 23-year-old has been in fine form this season and is a vital part of the Napoli team crushing the Serie A.
In terms of physique, movements off the ball, and finishing touch, Osimhen could be the perfect candidate for Real Madrid. The only downside to his arrival is the large fee it would command.
Rafael Leao is thus another name that has been considered as an alternative in the past. Unlike Osimhen, the youngster is nearing the end of his contract in Italy and provides the added advantage of versatility. A winger primarily, Leao is also adept at playing as a striker.
Los Blancos were offered his signature in January but declined it as per their norm of not changing the squad mid-season. With Leao nearing a renewal with AC Milan, Real Madrid must convey their interest in him soon to ease the economic burden.
The prospect of signing Karim Adeyemi has been gaining steam in recent days. The German striker earned a move to Borussia Dortmund last summer and has scored two goals and provided one assist in 11 Bundesliga starts this season.
A new remote possibility has opened up unexpectedly for Real Madrid. After Manchester City’s recent FFP breaches came to light, the future of the club and its players could be in jeopardy. Thus, there might just be a small window for Los Blancos to probe Erling Haaland’s signature as early as next summer.
Benzema, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Liverpool
Real Madrid will look to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League when they take on Premier League bigwigs Liverpool in the second leg of their Round of 16 encounter tonight.
The Merengues are already in a solid position thanks to their 5-2 comeback victory in the first leg at Anfield, led by brilliant performances from Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema.
But the job is far from done as the Reds are perfectly capable of mounting a strong comeback, having done so in the past against Barcelona only a few years ago. The recent 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United also showed the capabilities of Jurgen Klopp’s men.
So, Carlo Ancelotti & co. will need to be professional and get the job done while guarding against any sort of complacency. The manager has a near-full squad at his disposal, with David Alaba the only player missing with an injury.
With the game set to kick off at the Santiago Bernabeu later tonight, Madrid Universal takes a look at how Los Blancos could line up against Liverpool.
Thibaut Courtois is a certain starter in goal for Real Madrid and will look to keep a clean sheet this time out after letting in two goals at Anfield in the reverse fixture.
The Belgian international will likely be shielded by the centre-back pairing of Eder Militao, who was in fine nick against Espanyol over the weekend, and Antonio Rudiger.
Dani Carvajal is a guaranteed starter at right-back, while Nacho Fernandez is set to get the nod on the left side after his solid performance after coming on as a substitute at Anfield. Ferland Mendy is back in the squad, but is unlikely to be thrust into the spotlight right away.
Moving into the middle of the park, Carlo Ancelotti has always banked on the experience of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos for the big games, and that will not change tonight against Liverpool at the Bernabeu.
The defensive midfield slot is up for grabs with neither Aurelien Tchouameni nor Eduardo Camavinga impressing against Espanyol. But, Camavinga has been in a much better nick in recent times than his compatriot and should get the nod.
As for the attacking trident, captain Karim Benzema is back in the squad after sitting out against Espanyol with an ankle issue. He is certain to start as the centre-forward while Vinicius Jr is a certainty on the left flank.
On the right, the likes of Rodrygo Goes, Marco Asensio and Federico Valverde are all options for Ancelotti, but it is the latter who is likely to get the nod tonight.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Modric, Camavinga, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.
Rodrygo Goes has often made a big impact coming off the bench, especially in the big games and is certain to get minutes at some stage against Liverpool. Marco Asensio is another player who can provide goals from the bench and can be an asset.
Alternatively, if Carlo Ancelotti is looking to shore things up in midfield, the energy of Dani Ceballos might come in handy while Aurelien Tchouameni would also be in contention.
Youngster Alvaro Rodriguez has been making quite an impression of late and could get some minutes under his belt as well.