Never before has Karim Benzema been such a revered figure at the Santiago Bernabeu. Indeed, the French striker is in the form of his life, currently leading Lionel Messi in the Pichichi standings for La Liga’s top goalscorer. In the post-Cristiano Ronaldo it is Benzema who has stepped into the void left by his former Portuguese teammate.
And yet Real Madrid must face the reality that their first choice centre forward and top scorer is well into the twilight of his career. Benzema is 32 years old and while he has aged well, becoming a wiser, shrewder player in his 30s, there will come a time when the passages of time start to have an effect on the physicality of the Frenchman.
It could be for this reason that Real Madrid are reportedly looking at Lautaro Martinez. The Argentine striker has been a sensation for Inter this season, striking up a partnership with Romelu Lukaku to fire Antonio Conte’s side to the top of Serie A. He is now considered one of the brightest young forwards in the European game at this moment.
Martinez has previously been linked with Barcelona. The Catalans are believed to be in the market for a new striker as they look for a long term replacement for Luis Suarez. Stylistically, it’s easy to see why Barca see Martinez as a suitable fit. There are elements of Suarez’s game to that of the Argentine.
Real Madrid could also use a player like the Inter forward, though. Benzema might still have a few seasons left in the tank, but the signing of Martinez could give Zinedine Zidane the option of using the two up front as a duo. He has tried this with Luka Jovic on occasion this season, but the Serbian has yet to truly prove he belongs in the Santiago Bernabeu since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer.
Whether it happens this summer or in another transfer window, it seems inevitable that Martinez will be the subject of a Europe-wide pursuit involving many of the sport’s biggest clubs. There’s reason to believe the Argentine would be a good fit for Barcelona, a move to England might also appeal with Manchester City mentioned as suitors, but Real Madrid would be foolish not to at least put themselves forward as an option.
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