Sharp and deadly: 5 young strikers that Real Madrid should monitor in January
After sailing through last season with arguably the most complete squad (not first XI) in European football, Real Madrid’s start to the defence of its La Liga crown has been bumpy, to say the least.
Los Merengues have only won one of their four home matches in La Liga. This is in spite of the fact that they are yet to face any of the other four teams from last season’s top five.
The inability to put away chances has been an issue with Karim Benzema before his injury. He was guilty of missing several scoring chances in these games, especially in the home draws against Valencia CF & Levante.
Young Borja Mayoral is the only other out-and-out striker at the club and Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to hit his usual scoring best. The sale of Alvaro Morata means the club no longer have a reliable goal scorer coming off the bench, an asset that proved invaluable last season.
The decision to drop the bid for Kylian Mbappe due to his excessive wage demands means that Zinedine Zidane & club president Florentino Perez will be hunting for another number 9 in the January window.
And here are 5 players that the Blancos should target in the January transfer window...
#5 Domenico Berardi (US SASSUOLO & ITALY)
The world is still awaiting the manifestation of Berardi’s promise since he broke into the Serie A with lowly Sassuolo in the 2012-2013 season.
A big part of why Sassuolo have managed to maintain their top-flight status since they gained promotion, Berardi has a very good record of scoring goals with 55 goals in 153 appearances in less than 5 years.
His goals also helped I Neroverdi (The Black and Greens) make a historic Europa League appearance in 2016 after finishing sixth in Serie A.
A left-footed forward who can play anywhere across the front three, his favoured position is on the right where he can cut in and shoot. He is known for his positioning, tactical intelligence, assassin-level decision making as well as his work off the ball.
After five years with the team (he was signed permanently at the beginning of the season following the buyout of the co-ownership deal with Juventus), Berardi is ripe for a move to the top echelon of world football.
He could prove to be a great asset as his ability to play across the frontline means that he won’t be directly competing with the main man, Cristiano Ronaldo, for a spot.
The presence of Gareth Bale & Marco Asensio will mean that his favoured right-side attacking position is already crowded, but he is good enough to stake a claim for the number 9 position in competition with the misfiring Benzema.
He will represent an attractive low-priced option for Zidane as his transfer fee is not expected to exceed £40 million.