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Real Madrid seriously interested in signing 16-goal former striker as Benzema backup

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

In a major development, journalists Alfredo Matilla and Rodra P are reporting that Real Madrid have set their sights on a summer move for RCD Espanyol striker Joselu to provide cover and competition for captain Karim Benzema.

Following the shock 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Manchester City earlier this week in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Real Madrid are planning a few changes heading into the next season.

And one thing that everyone at the club seems to be aware now is that they need to sign a new centre-forward in the summer transfer window.

Benzema has had a disappointing campaign compared to the standards he set last season. His display against Man City earlier this week was very concerning, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Mariano Diaz, who was never favoured by manager Carlo Ancelotti, is set to leave when his contract expires. Rodrygo has had mixed success while playing through the middle but he is not a natural No. 9.

There are talks of promoting Alvaro Rodriguez to the first team next season, but it makes sense for the Merengues to bring in another established striker to support Benzema.

And it seems that they have turned their attention to Joselu of Espanyol.

A former Real Madrid forward, the 33-year-old spent three years on the club’s books between 2009 and 2012. He played 73 times for Castilla and scored 40 goals, but managed just two senior appearances, in which he netted twice as well.

Since then, the Spaniard has stints at TSG Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hannover, Stoke City, Deportivo La Coruna, Newcastle United, and Alaves, before he joined Espanyol last year.

In his debut season for the Catalan outfit, Joselu has netted 16 goals across all competitions, 15 of which have come in La Liga, even though Espanyol are facing relegation.

Ancelotti has made it clear to the club that he wants a new No. 9 this summer and Joselu is now emerging as a serious option because of the qualities he brings to the table.

Strong in the air, possessing fine finishing skills and able to play with his back to the goal, the veteran forward is said to fit the profile that Real Madrid are looking for. On top of it, his past at the club as well as his close relationship with Dani Carvajal could help adapting easier as well.

Even though he still has two years left on his contract, Joselu would be available for a relatively low price, especially if Espanyol are relegated. Hence, Real Madrid are seriously considering a move for their former striker. Only time will tell whether it comes to fruition.

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Matches

Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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