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Real Madrid set to finalise move for €6m La Liga striker as Mariano replacement

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Real Madrid have been struck with huge news in the last few hours as Karim Benzema’s future has been put under a cloud of doubt. The Frenchman, free in the summer, is now closer to leaving the club than renewing his contract.

Benzema has been offered a mammoth €200 million two-year contract from Al-Ittihad, and is seriously considering it. The contract also includes image rights, advertising money, and social work.

As such, Madrid will have to work overtime to look to reinforce their forward line ahead of next summer. With Mariano Diaz also leaving, they will be without a natural striker should Benzema not continue.

They are, however, close to signing Espanyol’s Joselu, as per a report by Sergio Santos. He will serve as Mariano’s backup in the squad.

If nothing goes wrong at this point, he would be the first signing for the club once the season officially calls curtains next weekend.

Joselu has a clause in his Espanyol contract that helps facilitate his transfer in case of relegation. With the Catalan outfit now officially back in the Segunda Division, the Spaniard could be on the move.

Real Madrid have almost completely closed the signing of Fran Garcia already, who is set to return to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of his season. Joselu’s announcement could follow, after next week, as the club prioritising focusing on the league, hoping to finish second.

Should Benzema call it quits on his time at Madrid, though, the club are expected to go after another striker in the summer. Roberto Firmino and Harry Kane are among names being considered, but each with problems of their own.

The Brazilian wants to know about his fit in the team before making an official decision on his future, while the Englishman will carry a huge price tag.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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