Despite all the protests coming from Monaco, speculation dictates that Real Madrid are still very much in the hunt to sign Radamel Falcao this summer—be it on on loan or in a permanent switch.
It's far from a necessity that Carlo Ancelotti bring in such a luxury purchase, though. Speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe (h/t the Daily Mail's Simon Jones), president of the French outfit Vadim Vasilyev recently stated:
I have met Real officials many times, and the Falcao dossier was never discussed.
There are no talks, and we really are counting on him. I think he's happy to come back from injury and re-find his team-mates.
He confirmed that he's a great player, a great goal scorer. He missed the World Cup, it was difficult for him psychologically. But he's a strong personality, and I hope it'll be his season at Monaco.
For all the uncertainty that rains upon the Bernabeu at present, news of Karim Benzema's five-year extension in Madrid is a positive upturn in consolidation.
The agreement stands as a sign that Ancelotti is willing to put his faith in the Frenchman, a valuable tool for any striker, often among the most easily adjusted footballing figures, who operate largely on confidence.
However, Falcao's arrival would put this work to waste and bring competition to the fore that Benzema isn't in need of, while also causing a seismic shift in the team's tactics that would be to their detriment.
Who should Ancelotti place his faith in?
At every club the Colombian striker has played for, he's very much been the main man in the frame once his exploits get underway. At Porto, Atletico Madrid and even after his big-money switch to the French Riviera, the team has worked to ensure he can run on full scoring steam.
Benzema, on the other hand, has never been the superstar idol at the Bernabeu, but in the midst of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and now James Rodriguez, that's the kind of figure who can thrive.
The Frenchman acts more as the linking party than the player for whom play is linked. After all, it's a tactic that won Los Merengues last season's Champions League, showing that the current strategy flows.
Falcao would risk breaking up that synchronicity and add another individualist to the formula, which could in turn tip the scales too far out of balance—especially when the weight is so finely poised already.
In turn, OptaJose indicates this link-up has Ronaldo firing on all cylinders, which is in itself one of Ancelotti's biggest objectives:
Falcao would risk diminishing that fluidity.
Of course, there's the financial side of matters, too. As Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have learnt over the past year, Financial Fair Play is making Europe's giants more prudent with their purses by the minute.
As a result, any moves of this calibre should be saved for what's most required at the club. In purchasing or even loaning Falcao, Real would only be buffering a position in which they need not.
Alvaro Morata's departure to Juventus may have been very much the result of the youngster's wishes for first-team football, but one can see why Los Blancos fought so hard to keep their forward, who may have again provided Benzema with cover this term.
Falcao would be all the more demanding in his need for first-team football. The knee injury he suffered in December creates doubt around his long-term value, but broadcaster Paul Sarahs insists Europe's giants would snap up the hitman in an instant:
@mdk_1993 We're talking about Falcao, man. Plenty of teams would take him on a permanent deal in an instant.— Paul Sarahs (@PaulSarahs) August 7, 2014
Of course, one can pose the argument that Falcao is a superior striker to Benzema in overall terms.
The South American netted 28 goals in 34 league appearances during the 2012-13 season—his last at the Vicente Calderon.
In comparison, Benzema only scored 16 goals in 33 La Liga outings last term, a far less prolific rate. However, it is worth noting that while Falcao has made just nine assists in league competition over the past four seasons, Real's French forward has more than four times that amount with 39.
|Appearances||Goals||Assists||Benzema v Falcao||Appearances||Goals||Assists|
It's very much a question of what Ancelotti needs and not just want Real want. In an ideal world, the club would have a content group of superstars wiling to work for one another—and for financially viable sums at that.
However, in their current form, things aren't quite so bad for the Spanish giants, who may have to admit defeat in the race for one player so that the existing stars at the Bernabeu can continue to thrive.