Three players that could replace the injured Karim Benzema for Real Madrid
During Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory against Celtic, Madridistas’ worst nightmare came to reality as Karim Benzema suffered a knee injury. The Frenchman was unable to continue playing in his side’s Champions League opener, with Eden Hazard brought on to replace him in the 30th minute.
Despite the Los Blancos skipper being in peak physical condition, being 34 increases the chances of him succumbing to injury. Especially after coming off a season where he started in 43 matches in La Liga and the Champions League alone.
At the start of the 2022/23 campaign as well, the veteran has played every possible minute in the league, which may have led to his current fitness issues.
However, the decorated goalscorer is likely to return to action in around ten days, as per reports from Spain. In the meantime, we have picked the three players that could deputize in Benzema’s absence.
The Belgian is perhaps the natural choice to replace the injured Karim Benzema for the time being. Coming on to replace the French international in Real Madrid’s latest contest against Celtic, Eden Hazard thrived as a false nine.
The former Chelsea winger first showcased his class in an unfamiliar role by ghosting past a defender and playing a perfectly timed pass to Luka Modric, who finished with aplomb.
In the 77th minute, Hazard got on the scoresheet himself, as he was well-placed to tap the ball home from close quarters after Dani Carvajal picked him out in acres of space in the box.
Eden Hazard’s ability to drop deep, beat defenders and link play makes him the perfect fit for the false nine role, similar to how the all-conquering Karim Benzema ticks a number of boxes. As a result, the 31-year-old is perhaps the perfect plan B up front, as things stand.
As things stand, the Spanish international has played a combined total of 17 mins in La Liga and the Champions League this season.
It is no secret that a key reason why Marco Asensio has been on the periphery of things is due to his contractual situation, as the club look unwilling to extend his deal on his terms.
With the once-wonderkid staying put at Real Madrid, as leaving as a free agent next summer seems in store for him, it would certainly not be the worst idea to utilise the player’s services upfront.
Asensio’s quick feet, intelligent link-up play and powerful ball-striking are all factors that could make him useful as a temporary solution during Benzema’s absence.
In addition, his experience of playing alongside Vinicius Jr., in particular last term, could be worth its weight in gold for the time being.
While it is clear that Diaz is out-of-favour and remains an unpopular choice amongst fans, one must emphasise that in case the aforementioned solutions are not taken, he is the only alternative in place that can be utilised.
Perhaps the saving grace for the 29-year-old remains that much like Benzema, he is a natural number nine.
However, it is next to impossible for Mariano Diaz to even be considered for selection during a crucial chunk of the season.
Five summer transfer operations that Real Madrid are currently working on
With renewed energy, Real Madrid approach the summer transfer window oozing optimism. The air in the Spanish capital is filled with anticipation as Los Blancos prepare to embark on a new chapter — one that promises to bring numerous changes and opportunities.
Following the exits of several high profile names, with the most recent departure of Karim Benzema leaving a gargantuan void in the front-line, Madrid are necessitated to act swiftly in the window. They are reportedly set to prepare for a revolutionary summer.
Currently, Los Blancos maintain emphasis on five operations that hold priority. These are as follows:
The English starboy with the world at his feet continues to be one of football’s hottest commodities. Bellingham has amassed considerable interest from Europe’s top sides, but appears to be closest to striking a deal with Real Madrid.
While the player had no shortage of suitors, his desire to play for the Royal Whites has given Madrid a very realistic chance of obtaining the teenage sensation’s signature.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid aspire to complete details of Jude Bellingham’s deal next week. Talks are in the final stages, with add-ons as well as the €100m fixed fee to BVB.
In spite of his high price tag, Bellingham has bedazzled at the tender age of 19, having also won the Bundesliga player of the season. Strengthening the squad with a talent as renowed as him is bound to engender energy in the midfield department next season.
Karim Benzema’s exit has given rise to several top class strikers being linked with Madrid, but Kane’s name stands out most remarkably. The English forward enjoyed a spectacular season with Tottenham Hotspur, despite the club’s collective shortcomings.
Los Blancos face a whopping price tag of €120 million due to the player’s significance for Spurs, but possess an edge in negotiations, owing to the absence of a direct domestic conflict.
According to Jose Felix Diaz, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is willing to let Harry Kane leave, as long as his next destination is outside of England.
Kane has established himself as one of the world’s most demanded forwards. Interest from Real Madrid particularly makes sense, with how many stylistic similarities he possesses with Benzema.
The forward is adept at dropping deep and linking plays, while also possesses an incredible eye for goal. Kane ended the Premier League season as the second top scorer, scoring 30.
The German international appears to already have one foot in the Spanish capital. Havertz has garnered great interest from Perez, who will be tasked with filling a barren front-line, where Rodrygo and Vinicius are the only two forwards remaining at the club.
The 23 year old was signed by a grand figure of €80 million, but failed to live up to expectations. With a difficult period at the English club, Chelsea would not present much resistance if an adequate offer is presented.
However, Chelsea are reportedly demanding Madrid to put a figure of around €60 million to sign Havertz, which by no means is an amount the Merengues throw around lightly.
Still, Havertz has proven to be a talented youngster when the conditions favour him. At Bayer Leverkusen, he soared to incredible heights. The player is also well acquainted with the German players in Madrid’s squad, which will ease the adaptation process.
While Madrid yearn to reconstruct most of their attack, the club have not abandoned the defensive side of the squad and particularly appear interested in bolstering the left-back position, where Davies has emerged as a potential signing.
As Ferland Mendy faces an almost imminent departure or, at the very least, a demotion in the pecking order, Davies looks to be the chosen one to reinforce the area.
The Bayern Munich left-back is one of the world’s most productive full-backs as he has undeniably proven to be one of the Bavarians’ main assets.
According to Spanish outlet MARCA, Madrid have contacted the German side in hopes of sealing a deal. The reported figure is expected to exceed €60-70 million.
Moreover, Alphonso Davies has dual citizenship, Canadian & Liberian and with the Cotonou agreement, he doesn’t take a NON-EU slot in the squad.
Joselu has been one of the most mentioned links with Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window. As Madrid are willing to especially beef up their attacking depth, the Espanyol man would prove to be a solid buy.
After bidding farewell to Mariano and Asensio, the need for a reliable back-up striker exists in the squad. In such a context, Joselu would aid the depth department.
The Spaniard ended the league season as the third top scorer, securing an impressive 16 goals. Despite Espanyol’s relegation, he looked to be one of the few bright spots in a struggling side.
To successfully reinforce the squad, Real Madrid aim to create a formidable lineup capable of competing at the highest level. They are targeting both established stars and young individuals, believing that a blend of experience and potential will formulate a well-rounded squad.
Following a bucketload of player exits as well as failures in La Liga and Champions League, the club believe a transformative phase is essential to move forward.