The Early Sub: Real Madrid’s Morata Replacement- Dream, Realistic, Wildcard

There is little doubt about Real Madrid’s historic double last season which included a front line led by the likes of Frenchman Karim Benzema. Los Merrengues have now won 2 Champions League titles in the last 3 years with Benzema at the helm of the famed “BBC” (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo). Due to his success in recent years, manager Zinedine Zidane has pledged his allegiance to Benzema in the starting lineup. As a result of this proclamation, Morata sought to leave Madrid once again for starting minutes, and this time it’s to Chelsea. He returns to the manager who pulled him out of the Spanish capital in the first place, Antonio Conte. Conte had lured Morata to Juventus in the Summer of 2014, but that same summer Conte left Juventus for the Italy job. Morata had returned to Real Madrid after two successful seasons with Juve, winning 2 league titles and scoring in the 2015 Champions League Final. After a terrific EURO 2016, Madrid brought the young Spaniard back, but only to warm the bench as he made more substitute appearances then starts last season for Los Blancos. As a result, he left his hometown once again in search of greener pastures at Stamford Bridge. With Benzema the main striker now, Madrid have been in search for another striker to share time with Benzema. Who should Madrid sign? I got your dream, realistic, and wildcard options, along with who I think the 2 time defending European champions should sign.

Dream: Kylian Mbappe (AS Monaco)

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It’s no secret that Madrid want to sign the teenage French hitman. The young striker has shown absolute brilliance through his breakout campaign with Monaco as he’s been dubbed “the next Thierry Henry.” Their desire to sign the next brilliant striker is clear and it’s obvious that Zidane sees flashes of his legendary compatriot in the Monaco man. Madrid haven’t been connected with too many players aside from their blockbuster link to Mbappe. Insane figures have been tossed into the conversation such as 120 million Euros for the 18 year old. 21 goals in 38 games in Ligue 1 and the Champions League at 18 shows that the bright lights are not too bright for the Frenchman but his future is. He proved all his pacey potential when he lit up Manchester City in the Round of 16 along with the experienced Falcao. And he contributed even further with goals against Dortmund in the Quarterfinals. I believe that if Kylian Mbappe was to make his big money dream move to the Bernabeu to play alongside Ronaldo, he would start above Benzema by Christmas. Zidane may have pledged his loyalty to the big Frenchman, but Mbappe is just so full of pace and energy that he would push the Madrid attack at a level that Benzema couldn’t even dream of. The reincarnation of Thierry Henry may don the legendary white shirt as opposed to the Blaugrana that the real Henry wore (towards the latter half, of course he’s an Arsenal legend first). And once Ronaldo and Bale move on, he’ll team up with Marco Asensio and Isco to lead a new age of attack for Madrid. It’s scary to think just for how long Madrid could don the league crown with this attack if he was to make his move. Monaco seem keen to keep him, so Real might have to wait another summer before looking to lure him to the Bernabeu. Developing under Leonardo Jardim and not risking becoming the next Morata seems to be what Mbappe wants, at least for now. Plus, he’ll still see Champions League minutes at the Principality. There’s no doubting Madrid could sign him in the future, Madrid seems to be his future, that is unless Manchester City or Arsenal get to him first.

Realistic: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

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Maybe not the youthful move that Zidane would be looking for but they missed their chance with Enes Unal. They don’t seem to show must interest in Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg either after his absence in the Europa League Final against Manchester United. Andrea Belotti’s asking price is insane as he’s 23 years old, so Madrid have kept away from the Torino striker. There is another youthful option on the table, but I’ll discuss that later. Right now, Kun Aguero seems like a pretty decent option for Madrid to turn to. One of the best goal scorers in the Premier League, Aguero could shake Benzema off the starting spot. The Argentine appeared in 43 matches in all competitons last season for the Citizens and netted a whopping 30 goals including 5 goals in 5 FA Cup starts en route to a Semifinal appearance. This is nothing new for the Argentine hitman who’s netted at least 20 goals in the Premier League in 4 of his 6 seasons in Manchester, with a career high 26 goals in 2015. He’s fallen out of favor even with his performances with the new boss of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola. The acquisition of Gabriel Jesus, along with his prolific start to life in England, has spelled out the end for the league winning hero as Aguero wishes to be the main option up front for a top European side as he’s still 29 years old and entering the latter half of his prime years. Benzema, also 29, only scored 11 goals as opposed to Aguero who scored 20 while splitting time with Gabriel Jesus in the league. Aguero could become the experienced the striker who could lead Mbappe into the starting lineup next season if the young striker stays at Monaco this upcoming season. I wouldn’t doubt that, although he’d rather be the top option, sitting the bench and winning the Champions League is better then sitting the bench and fighting for top 4 and getting eliminated by Monaco for Aguero. Aguero could take over this season as Madrid give themselves another year to find their young hitman. It could be Aguero’s only chance at European glory, glory that he could never achieve with Manchester City (at least not yet under Guardiola).

Wildcard: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

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This is a man who would no doubt knock Benzema off the perch. Maybe if Mbappe chooses to stay at the Principality, they could move some of that money towards purchasing the Pole. Lewandowski has been linked to the Spanish giants for a couple of Summers and with his reported unrest at the Allianz, this could be the time for Madrid to move on him. No doubt one of the best goal scorers in all of Europe, he could be a surprising option for Los Blancos if nothing else can come to fruition. He still has a few years left at the absolute top level. He netted an unbelievable 43 goals in 47 games for the Bavarian Bullies en route to yet another Bundesliga title. He’s undoubtedly world class and clearly deserving of the most prestigious awards with his talent. He would become a classic Galactico signing and one that would greatly improve the team over the likes of Benzema. There hasn’t been any of indication from Bayern Munich if Lewandowski is leaving but what fuels this talk has been his aforementioned unrest. His frustration at Bayern’s lack of recent European success since his arrival, and his loss of the scoring title to Pierre-Emerick Aubmeyang of Dortmund this past season. Ancelotti may not stand for this unrest and may want to get rid of him while he’s still at max value. A man who scores at the rate that he does is always wanted by the best clubs on the planet. Real Madrid seem to have the head start on signing the Prolific Polish striker. Adept to any style thrown his way, he’s a guarantee to compete for scoring titles, every single season. Real Madrid would be no different and what an attacking trident that would be. Ronaldo/Lewandowski/Bale or Isco. Wow.

My Suggestion: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

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With Manchester United on the hunt for Emil Forsberg and Liverpool on the hunt for Naby Keita. Leipzig have a potential exodus on their hands and Timo Werner could lead it with a massive move to Real Madrid. 32 games in 21 goals while leading Leipzig to a 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga has him as a qualified replacement for Morata. Only 21 years old, Werner is 3 years younger then the Spaniard and could find a wonderful connection with U21 foe, Marco Asensio and fellow compatriot, Toni Kroos. Like Mbappe, if Werner arrived in Madrid, he’d take over the starting spot by Christmas. Possessed with brilliant pace and wondrous dribbling ability, his ceiling is sky high. A more then capable finisher in front of net, the young German has the talent to play off teammates while also creating dangerous space for himself as well. He announced himself to Germany when he lead the Leipzig frontline that earned a 2nd place finish in the Bundesliga in their debut season. He announced himself to the rest of Europe when he led the U21 German frontline to a EUROs title in June. He could be the new heir to Benzema’s spot for Zidane’s Madrid as a Asensio/Werner/Isco frontline in the near future sounds like an absolute nightmare to the rest of Europe. The only thing with this move is that Leipzig seem adamant on hanging onto their star players. They’ve turned away a few Liverpool offers that have risen to as high a price as 70 million euros. Could you imagine the price for their star striker? As of right now, it looks like Leipzig’s players are not for sale, but if Madrid threw a bone into the equation, who knows? Florentino Perez normally gets what he wants, no matter the cost.

 

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