Analysis: Should Real Madrid go for a forward in the January transfer window?

Real Madrid are just two points behind Barcelona in La Liga and finished their Champions League group comfortably top too. Yet doubts are starting to creep in about the sustainability of having just Karim Benzema as a reliable forward.

Carlo Ancelotti has previously said that Real Madrid would not consider action in the winter window unless a player decided to leave.

The focus of that question has always been centred on the forward position. After the departures of Luka Jovic and Borja Mayoral in the summer, Mariano Diaz is the only other forward by trade after Karim Benzema.

The French forward has appeared 12 times this season but has missed half of their games and while Los Blancos have coped well in his absence, a draw against Girona and defeats to RB Leipzig and Rayo Vallecano have raised questions about how sustainable a side without him is.

Without him, Ancelotti has used Rodrygo Goes, who he considers more of a central forward, and Marco Asensio through the middle. It is clear that he does not trust Mariano. Between them, Valverde, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior have stepped up to cover that absence, with Real Madrid already on 50 goals for the season.

However according to Sport, Ancelotti is beginning to change his mind following Benzema’s latest quadriceps injury, which will keep him out of the World Cup. The club consider themselves somewhat short for the title race with the pieces they have currently. The two names mentioned as potential reinforcements are Rafael Leao of Milan and Lautaro Martinez of Inter.

If Real Madrid do invest significant money in a forward, it will have to be a long-term solution. This would have several consequences.

Firstly, it would likely mark either the beginning of the end of Benzema’s untouchable spot, or a change of system. Another central striker that could play instead of Benzema would mean switching the make-up of the team to accommodate them, or by default admitting that there is competition for his position.

Finding a forward confident of either winning their place in a side that normally only accommodates one forward, or is comfortable playing a lesser role, is a a tricky task. That much has been seen with Mariano.

It is also true that Real Madrid have coped better than expected without Benzema though. It would require a lot of faith from Ancelotti to trust in Rodrygo to carry the load in Benzema’s absence.

Ultimately, without Benzema, their chances of competing on all fronts are significantly reduced. The question seems dependent on how much faith they have in Benzema to get himself fit for the second half of the season. At 35, Real Madrid are more than justified to look for a solution at the position. Finding that solution that could fit the side in January seems unlikely and they may be best off holding fire until the summer.

Tags Carlo Ancelotti Inter Karim Benzema La Liga Milan Rafael Leao Real Madrid
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