Real Madrid are in a tricky position with their forward line, with a number of options but little certainty.
The one certainty seems to be that Los Blancos will jettison Mariano Diaz. The 29-year-old has played just 25 minutes this season and his deal is up at the end of the season.
Meanwhile Marco Asensio is also something of a question mark. Contract negotiations rumble on with the Spanish international, but up until this point, it seems the club and the player fundamentally disagree on how much he should be playing and what he should be earning.
On the opposite side, Eden Hazard has once again failed to step out of his own shadow. Less than 300 total minutes this season is a clear message that despite what he may say in the press, Carlo Ancelotti does not trust the Belgian. Even if he does not depart this summer, as is their intention, he seems unlikely to play a major role next season.
Fede Valverde has been highly productive on the right this season, splitting responsibility with Rodrygo Goes. The Brazilian has moved across the forward line well, combining with Vinicius Junior well. Vinicius is perhaps the most fixed presence, with the left side belonging to him.
Then there is Karim Benzema. The 25-year-old is the reigning Ballon d’Or, and on his day, arguably the best forward in world football. The problem is that he has been on the pitch in fleeting moments due to injury. Limited to six goals before the World Cup, Benzema has nursed various muscle problems.
Generally, he has enjoyed good fitness throughout his career, but some see it as unsustainable to have Rodrygo and Asensio filling in as central strikers in his absence. If the latter does leave, Los Blancos could be left with just three natural forwards and Valverde ahead of next season, necessitating reinforcements.
One of the forwards linked with them by Fichajes is French international Marcus Thuram. Inter, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are all keen on the 25-year-old, who is out of contract with Borussia Moenchengladbach this summer and is unlikely to sign a new deal.
Tall, powerful and quick, Thuram would add some missing ingredients to the Real Madrid frontline. Although he might not be the most clinical option available, Thuram’s attributes would combine with their options in order to make their attack far more diverse.
Starting with his height, apart from Benzema, Los Blancos do not possess much of an aerial threat in the final third. Vinicius, Valverde and Rodrygo are all quick, but tend to use that attribute for taking on players.
Most naturally a central striker, Thuram would be able to back-up Benzema as his primary task. Yet he could play from a wider position or even with Benzema through the middle if they wanted to force the issue. Thuram would not expect a starting role and so his competition with Rodrygo and Valverde would only increase the competitive tension in the squad.
Perhaps the trait that would make Thuram most beneficial for Real Madrid is his style of play. While Valverde is more than adept at crashing the box, the rest of Real Madrid’s forward options all have one thing in common: they like the ball to their feet. Rodrygo’s movement is good, but naturally he is not a player that seeks to get in behind the defence. Thuram’s movement, his pace and willingness to go beyond the defenders would stretch out defences, dovetailing nicely with what they have already.