In the end, Gonzalo Higuain will be sold, and the deal will probably be done by the end of the weekend, this time for real. This leaves Real Madrid with only one senior striker in Karim Benzema, while Alvaro Morata and Jese Rodriguez wait for their opportunity to show the club does have a talented youth movement, without forgetting about the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The great thing about Benzema and Higuain was the way they complemented each other. Benzema is more of the modern forward, whose great assets are in his dribbling, passing and ability to play in other places than just the ‘9’ slot. In fact, as a lone striker, Benzema is far less impressive than in a duo or trio, giving him the liberty to have somewhat of a free role and become much more dangerous.
But now it should be over, which leaves Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is almost guaranteed a goal per match against most opponents, while Morata (who played 15 times for the club last season, scoring twice) and Jese Rodriguez (who has one appearance for the senior club) are hoping that the rumors of Carlo Ancelotti believing a lot more in young players are true.
Morata starred for Spain in the U-21 European championship, leading them to victory. Rodriguez scored five goals in the U-20 World Cup, as Spain faltered and lost in the quarterfinals to Uruguay. Both of them feel ready to start playing a more substantial role for Real Madrid.
However, there’s always Florentino Perez to consider. Real Madrid have attempted signing a striker already this season, with Robert Lewandowski eventually rejecting their approach. There are the constant Luis Suarez talks, but it’s not clear if Real Madrid are willing to spend the £50 million Liverpool are asking for the Uruguayan striker. Gareth Bale is another fantasy name Real Madrid are after, but it’s hard to see anyone matching what Tottenham are asking for him.
A lot depends on the tactics of Carlo Ancelotti, who might not play in the same way Jose Mourinho liked to with Real Madrid in the past. Ancelotti is a firm believer in the 4-4-2, with attacking midfielders playing in wide positions, with one supporting striker tagging along with a target man. This might mean we’ll see Ronaldo moving back to a more central position, like he had played in for Manuel Pellegrini during his first season in Madrid, with Benzema as the starting striker.
Things can change however, even without a new, expensive and impressive signing. Ancelotti might try and use Ronaldo on the left wing in a slightly different role than the one he had in the past, but in truth, when something works so well, there’s no use in trying to fix it, and give Morata the chance to play a much more substantial role next to Benzema. That is the long shot scenario, and the most surprising turn of events will be Real Madrid not purchasing another striker.
In truth, when trying to win the Champions League and regaining the league title in Spain, Karim Benzema, with his 55 goals in 124 matches for Real Madrid, just isn’t good enough to be the target man for the entire season.