Real Madrid: The best emergency striker option after Luka Jović loan

Luka Jovic of Real Madrid (Photo by Alejandro/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Luka Jovic of Real Madrid (Photo by Alejandro/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid have loaned out Luka Jović to Eintracht Frankfurt so that the young striker can get the playing time he needs for his development. Jović’s loan has started like a dream, as he scored twice in about 30 minutes off the bench in his debut against FC Schalke 04.

But with Jović back in Hessen, Real are left with just two strikers in the squad. Karim Benzema is the superstar up top, leading the club in both goals and assists for another year running. Behind him is the man who refuses to leave, Mariano Diaz, who received a couple of starts this season when Benzema was injured. He scored early against Villarreal but hasn’t impressed beyond that.

There are worse striker situations than Benzema and Mariano together, but Real Madrid have to be concerned about their depth. Most elite clubs competing in the Champions League and with ambitions of winning the domestic cup would ideally like to have more than one backup up top. Following Jović’s loan, Real are even more reliant on Benz staying healthy.

If something were to happen to both strikers, who would step up as the next man up? Who are the best emergency options?

There are three players who could be emergency strikers for Real Madrid

There are three ideas that come to mind. One of them I will toss out briefly, because he is injured. Rodrygo Goes seems to have the tools to be a legitimately good No. 9, but that experiment would have to wait a couple of months until the Brazilian recovers.

So we move to the other two ideas. Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard. The latter could be a “False 9” in a 4-3-3 formation, playing a role somewhat akin to Lionel Messi at Barcelona in the past. It’s not an ideal use of Hazard, but it may be a worthy alternative for Zinedine Zidane to pursue if he is forced to.

But Asensio intrigues me the most. My colleague Hasan Karim recently penned a piece on Asensio teasing a return to form, and it would mean the world to Real Madrid for Asensio to fulfill his potential as a secondary scoring option for Los Blancos.

I’ve noticed that Asensio has played better on the left than on the right, and I keep wondering if he’d be better in a central role that allows him to drift left, for passing purposes, and interchange with the left winger. He and Hazard could have a real partnership together in that sense. Asensio could likewise start up top in a 4-4-2 diamond with Vinícius Júnior to his left and Martin Ødegaard slotting behind the two of them.

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Are any of these ideas with Rodrygo, Asensio, and Hazard perfect? Of course not. But I think with the right tweaks and the maximization of skill-sets with a fluid tactical setup, Real Madrid can make do with the talent they have as emergency options if the injury bug bites the striker position for a second time in 2020-2021.