Alvaro Morata once again put forward another stunning cameo display this past weekend against Levante, starting a fight back that eventually led to Real Madrid leaving with all three points.
For Real Madrid, there are two sides to their striker story. One is that they need to fix the situation with Karim Benzema. The other is that they don’t drop the ball on Morata, who is looking to fulfil his potential as one of the most exciting young forwards on the continent. He’s Spanish and a product of the club’s cantera, so that makes it doubly important.
The youngster’s goal that drew Real level was well deserved and well taken. Moreover, it pushed Benzema into the shade following another forgettable performance. That’s two in eight league games for the Frenchman. Of course, there are problems with Carlo Ancelotti’s setup as a whole, but this Benzema problem is one that’s been brewing over for much of his time in Spain.
What is interesting for now is that Morata remains the second choice, he’s an option from the bench when Real are struggling – and they certainly have been for a handful of La Liga games thus far. But Benzema isn’t ahead of him based in merit, and you have to wonder how long the status issue will hold up and keep the French international in the starting XI.
Ancelotti has a delicate situation to handle, at least until the next transfer window. Morata for now is fine with his role in the team, but benching Benzema will undoubtedly cripple the confidence of the team’s only senior striker. Morata, however, was arguably the catalyst for Real’s win on the weekend.
The Real Madrid attacking overhaul is far from complete; Luis Suarez remains a target and may well find himself at the Bernabeu next year. But will Benzema’s reputation alone be enough to secure him a high-profile move to the Premier League?
As much as Ancelotti may not want to further reduce the confidence of his striker, Benzema really does look out of sorts. He put forward an excellent performance against Galatasaray in the Champions League, but notably that was away from the fiery Bernabeu crowd.
This, however, hasn’t taken anything away from how good Benzema actually is. The politics at Real Madrid are well know, so too is the demand from the supporters to see not only fancy football but also hard work. Benzema hasn’t always been an advocate of this, rather choosing when he will chase down loose balls or press opposition defenders. His linkup plays remains excellent, though, as does his ability to drift around the attacking third and play others in.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal have been linked with moves for the Frenchman, though the suggestion that Chelsea would be a possible destination is completely pointless. Jose Mourinho didn’t always fancy Benzema, once famously saying that he’d have to hunt with a cat, Benzema, in the absence of a dog. A reunion seems far, far, far too unlikely considering Mourinho once bemoaned his lack of quality options when he had both Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain at Real Madrid.
Arsenal, for now, does seem the best and most logical destination – and that’s Europe-wide. Monaco and PSG are well-stocked with strikers, Manchester City, Juventus and Bayern Munich too, while Manchester United have priorities elsewhere.
There is still a very good striker in there, but the environment at Real Madrid has forced a downturn in his performances, as well as at international level. His next move, which most believe will take place during one of the two opportunities next year, will be to get himself back on top of his game for the long term.
Will Benzema end up in the Premier League next year?
Join the debate below