It may be a consequence of the stiflingly dull international break but media reports have gathered over the past week suggesting that Real Madrid will look to spend big again on a central striker. Reports from Marca today claim that Porto’s Jackson Martinez is being lined up for a move at the end of the summer to provide competition for Karim Benzema, who has come under scrutiny recently with The Mirror, The Daily Star and Yahoo Sports all claiming the striker is now available for just £20m.
Over the summer it was Luis Suarez but Madrid were settled with two young Spanish midfielders and Gareth Bale, who may yet feature prominently at some point this season. The Bale dilemma, with club and country currently exchanging bitter words about where the Welshman was when he was injured, could last until Christmas if reports of a slipped disc are to be believed. The need for a striker is crucial now if Madrid are to correct their wayward beginning to the season with only Karim Benzema up front..
Criticism of Benzema has been frequent, coming to a head this week with the Frenchman denying he has an attitude problem. He often looks lazy in his attacking play but has no real competition for the central striker role since the departure of Gonzalo Higuain. Alvaro Morata, who scored again for Spain’s Under 21 side last night, is beginning to emerge but only as an impact substitution. Any move for a striker though could also damage the promising youngster’s own progression and mean fewer appearances for Morata.
Martinez is just the latest name to be banded about but a quick search of internet news outlets reveals more candidates to accompany Benzema and Ronaldo up top. SkySports claim that Florentino Perez is interested in bringing Radamel Falcao back to the Spanish capital, which would no doubt spark riots around the Vicente Calderon if it were to happen. Another quick scan reveals another former Atleti star is on Perez’s shopping list – Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. It’d take a lot of money to convince City to part with their first choice striker I think.
Marca again claim that Madrid are in for a striker, perhaps in a bid to convince the Madrid hierarchy that more firepower is required. Robert Lewandowski, who has reportedly signed a pre-contract agreement with Bayern Munich next year, could be meaningless if Madrid come in with a hefty bid. The Pole scored a hat-trick against Madrid in the Champions League last season but has said countless times that he’d most like to join Bayern in the future.
More reports link Luis Suarez to Madrid, most notably in the Metro, despite his recent return to the Liverpool squad and their powerful start to the season. The endless transfer saga which began early in the spring looks set to continue despite Madrid not even contacting Liverpool during the summer.
All of the above will not actually happen, not for a few months at least, but that won’t stop the hyperbole surrounding Madrid’s transfer dealings. In all likelihood Carlo Ancelotti will develop a system whereby Cristiano Ronaldo is converted into a more central position to be in position to score the bulk of the goals again, removing the need to buy in January or July. Luka Modric or Isco could play in the hole with a stronger, deeper lying midfield – perhaps Pepe shifting further up the pitch. But that would be boring to discuss and wouldn’t sell many papers…