Many Real Madrid fans would like the team to sign another forward this summer, but the reality is that Florentino Perez may not be able to make a big move, even if he wants to. There are limited spots in the squad (25, to be exact), and they are filled by forwards whom the club is trying to get rid of but potentially cannot.
So we shall see. But it is interesting to see how Perez addressed the backup striker situation in his interview with El Chiringuito on Wednesday night.
Madridistas are weighing the possibility of signing a backup striker who can also eventually replace superstar Karim Benzema or signing a veteran striker who can be Benz’s backup and then make way for someone young in a few years who will be the Frenchman’s replacement.
Perez didn’t say anything exact, but if we read between the lines, we can see that he gave us a clue as to the kind of player he wants at striker, via Madrid Xtra on Twitter:
"“One day, a replacement for Benzema will come. But not for him to sit on the bench.”"
It seems from this quote that Perez is not interested in signing a young striker in the short-term who will eventually replace Benz. He seems to be interested in signing an elite striker to replace Benzema, knowing that Real Madrid needs the best of the best in the world at the position and can only replace a Ballon d’Or winner with another player capable of winning the award.
This quote from Florentino Perez seemingly alludes to Erling Haaland. Perez stated that Haaland would not have been signed regardless of what happened with Kylian Mbappe, because Haaland would not have sat on the bench for Benzema. Jan Age Fjortoft also commented during the transfer saga that Haaland is a “Bugatti”, not someone who sits on the bench for someone else.
Haaland could still be that replacement, of course. He reportedly wants to go to Real Madrid after his time at his father’s old club Manchester City, and he may even have a 150 million euro release clause active in two years to move to his No. 1 dream destination.
He fits the bill as a Galactic striker who can replace Benzema and would not need to be on the bench beforehand to develop.
Perez did not rule out Kylian Mbappe joining Madrid despite what happened this year, but he made it clear in his interview that Mbappe would need to show that he has changed for the club to trust him again. So he is another Benzema replacement of Galactic proportions who fits the bill.
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Could Real Madrid sign someone like Endrick or Youssoufa Moukoko as a backup and develop them to replace Benzema after a year of sitting on the bench? It is possible if Perez changes his mind. But it seems more likely that these are players Perez is monitoring. Real Madrid’s strategy, if this quote holds, will be to watch the world’s best young strikers and then take their pick when it comes time to replace their current legendary No. 9. The answer, though, could circle back to the two big targets of early 2022, Haaland and Mbappe.