Real Madrid are ready to drop plans of bidding £100 million for Liverpool's Luis Suarez in favour of providing Karim Benzema with a new deal at the Bernabeu, according to reports.
Suarez, who fired 31 goals during the Reds' ascension to second in the 2013-14 campaign, has understandably continued to be linked with a move to Spain's Champions League-winning club.
According to Matt Lawton and Dominic King of the Daily Mail, the Uruguayan striker's long-term contract and decision to enrol his child into a school on Merseyside hint that Madrid will opt to keep their current forward instead of spending big:
Luis Suarez has told his Liverpool team-mates he plans to stay at Anfield and lead next season's pursuit of the Barclays Premier League title.
[...] Sources at the Bernabeu insist there will be no offer for Suarez if Karim Benzema agrees a new deal. The France striker, believed to be a target for Arsenal, is demanding a huge pay rise but the European champions are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the 26-year-old before the World Cup.
While it has been easy for Benzema's name to get lost behind the excitement caused by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, his output was pivotal for los Blancos throughout the 2013-14 season. The 26-year-old has proven himself a smarter, more adept forward than many previously thought, offering a great deal to the team when on form.
Which striker is best suited to leading Real Madrid's line?
Although Benzema's defensive contribution remains disappointing for such a physically imposing player, his hold-up play and ability to smartly spray the ball allows his aforementioned team-mates to burst forward. They move beyond his position and exploit gaps that his movement creates, helping Carlo Ancelotti's team to Champions League glory.
Benzema's 22 goals and 14 assists across 46 appearances in La Liga and Europe highlight why he shouldn't be underestimated, per WhoScored.com. His ability as a lone striker is important to Madrid's play; he keeps the attacking line high and offers a springboard for the club's counters. Suarez would likely run beyond the defence if he took over, giving Ronaldo and Bale less opportunity to do the same.
There's no doubt Suarez is the more natural finisher. His haul of strikes placed him alongside Ronaldo for this year's Golden Shoe, the kind of consistency that marks him as a world great.
When asked if his price tag comes in at around £100 million, Brendan Rodgers previously suggested, "His value is certainly heading towards that," per Sky Sports.
With La Decima now complete, Florentino Perez may be looking to bypass a second £85 million-plus signing in two years. Real, like every club in European competition, have UEFA's financial fair play rules to abide by, indicating the addition of Suarez may be an unnecessary expenditure at this moment of time. The current squad, after all, is more than equipped to win all competitions.
More established back-up is certainly needed for Benzema. Alvaro Morata's game time remains limited, and Jese Rodriguez doesn't offer the same type of option when fit. Ancelotti may be wise to find himself a world-class centre-forward for a decent price, not spend the club's recent winnings in one fell swoop.
If Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema can deliver the Copa del Rey and Champions League during their first season together, imagine what they can achieve throughout the future.