Spanish Report Claims Arsenal Add Real Madrid Ace to Wishlist as Hunt for Sánchez Heir Intensifies

​Reports from Spain have claimed that Arsenal have added £40m-rated Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to their January transfer wishlist, as the north London side step up their efforts to find a successor to Alexis Sánchez – ​who is rumoured to be joining Manchester United this week.

As reported by Don Balón, the French international joins Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bordeaux’s Malcolm on Gunners manager Arsène Wenger’s shortlist of potential candidates to replace the tenacious Chilean. However, the source of the website’s information is unclear, suggesting the claims are part of the traditional January rumour-mill.

Real Madrid have endured a dismal La Liga campaign thus far, and are currently sitting fourth in the league table – a staggering 19 points off league leaders Barcelona. The reigning champions suffered a shock 1-0 home loss to Villarreal last weekend, a result which sees their run of league games without a league win extend to over a month.

While a move for Benzema is unlikely – despite the temptation the forward may have to jump ship – Gunners fans have reacted with feverish excitement to the social media actions of their defender Héctor Bellerín, ​who was reported to have followed BVB’s want-away striker Aubameyang on both Twitter and Instagram.

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It will be an intriguing week full of twists and turns in the Premier League, as the future of Sánchez is likely to effect a number of top tier sides. 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is hotly tipped to join the Gunners should Sánchez make the switch to Old Trafford, while champions Chelsea are believed to making a late swoop to snatch the former Barcelona man from United’s grasp.


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An abject display saw Wenger’s men give up the lead to lose 2-1 to Bournemouth in Sunday’s Premier League clash at the Vitality Stadium. The lack of attacking endeavour shown by his side is bound to spark the long-serving manager into action, with the unthinkable outcome of failing to qualify for the Champions League for a second season in a row looming large.

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FanView: How Real Madrid’s Lack of Summer Transfer Activity Has Come Back to Haunt Them This Season

It was 16th August 2017 when Real Madrid sealed a second piece of silverware in the space of a week, after a 2-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu against El Clasico rivals Barcelona sealed an emphatic 5-1 aggregate Spanish Super Cup win to go with their 2-1 UEFA Super Cup success against ​Manchester United eight days prior.

Seemingly the kings of Europe after their La Liga and Champions League double in the previous season, August now seems a million miles away for a Los Blancos side who appear to be a shadow of their former selves, with a fairly inactive summer transfer window a problem that has now caught up with them. 

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It’s been no secret that Real Madrid have indeed struggled this season to put it kindly. Currently sat 4th behind Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane’s side are an astounding 19 points off the summit of La Liga, they are actually in fact closer to the relegation zone, 14 points to be precise. 

Examining their summer transfer window can shed some light onto their current plight: 

Departures​ Arrivals​
Player​ ​Club ​Fee ​Player ​Club ​Fee
​Alvaro Morata ​Chelsea ​£55.8 ​Theo Hernandez ​Atletico Madrid ​£27m
​Danilo ​Manchester City ​£27 ​Dani Ceballos ​Real Betis ​£14.85m
​James Rodriguez ​Bayern Munich ​Loan – £11.7m fee
​Mariano Diaz ​Olympique Lyonnais ​£7.2m
​Diego Llorente ​Real Sociedad ​£6.3m
​Fabio Coentrao ​Sporting CP ​Loan – £0.9m
​Pepe ​Besiktas ​Free
​Total: ​£108.9m ​£41.85m

Not only does Madrid’s intake vastly outweigh their outspend, it is the positions they have lost those players in which has weakened Zidane’s squad. While their incomings in the shape of Theo Hernandez and Dani Ceballos have failed to make their mark at Real Madrid so far, it is they players they’ve lost and failed to directly replace that has hurt them. 

Morata and Mariano both left in the summer, leaving the La Liga giants with Karim Benzema and Borja Mayoral as their recognised strikers. Benzema and Mayoral have scored a combined total of three league goals this season, while Morata has 10 Premier League goals and ​Mariano, who is enjoying himself in France, has 13 Ligue 1 goals. 

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Real Madrid’s lack of transfer activity, especially in an attacking areas, has resulted in a heavier burden placed on the pair of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. 

While the Welshman is one of Europe’s most revered forwards, the 28-year-old has been hampered with injuries, meaning his presence cannot always be a given. Despite scoring four goals in eight league games this season, Bale has missed more than half the season because of injury, with his pace and dynamism greatly missed in a somewhat static front line in his absence. 

Then there’s the curious case of Cristiano Ronaldo. His struggles have been well documented this season, scoring more Champions League goals than La Liga goals, 9-4. ​Cutting an unhappy figure this season, Ronaldo is now 32, meaning the majority of his work is now done within the width of the 18-yard box and cannot be the explosive, pacey forward that Madrid signed in 2009 and are currently crying out for today.

It is not the front line that should only be scrutinised however, as the problems for Zidane’s side stretches throughout the entirety of the team. Question marks remain over Casemrio, who does vacate his holding midfield position far too often, which can leave the back-four exposed.

While the number of goals Madrid have conceded isn’t especially high (17), the manner of defeats and goals conceded have been a recurring theme.

Real Madrid’s defeat to Villarreal on Saturday mirrored their Real Betis loss in September, a 1-0 scoreline, conceding late into the game and being caught on the counter-attack. While the defending leaves a lot to be desired in both instances, the fact that Madrid have little to call on from the bench to help break down teams is as a result of a poor transfer window.

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Isco and Marco Asensio are good options to have off the bench, yet the pair are very similar in an attacking sense, while Lucas Vasquez isn’t an attacker who opposing defenders will necessarily fear when he comes on, while Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are two world-class centre-backs in their own right, yet the departure of Pepe makes them very light in that area of the pitch. 

It’s not only their La Liga performances that have been affected this season, with their second place finish in a Champions League group containing the likes of Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund meaning they have a last-16 tie against the French juggernaut that is Paris Saint-Germain, a proposition the Spanish side would’ve preferred to deal with later into the competition. 

Real Madrid have been linked with a plethora of stars in a bid to fix the problem, with ​Mohamed Salah, ​Neymar and ​Kepa Arrizabalaga to name a few, while ​Eden Hazard remains firmly at the top of Zidane’s shopping list. It also appears that Zidane is sticking to the principles of giving youth a chance a club that prefers to buy stars rather that produce their own, with Achraf Hakimi, Marco Asensio a positive nod to the future. 

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While the approach is commendable, the investment of youth is something that takes time, a commodity that even Real Madrid cannot afford at the minute, and can go along way to rectifying a poor summer transfer window with the addition of some marquee names this window and in the summer, and ​turn around a situation Zidane has described as “f***ed up”. 

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Report Claims Ronaldo Has Told Real Madrid Teammates to Focus on Cup Success Amid La Liga Struggles

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged his Real Madrid teammates to forget about their woes in La Liga and focus on winning the Copa del Rey, according to reports in Spain.

Los Blancos are 19 points off the pace set by arch rivals ​Barcelona, with Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Villarreal effectively ending any hopes ​Real had of defending their league title.

According to ​Marca, Ronaldo joined manager Zinedine Zidane in speaking to the team at training on January 9, where he reiterated the importance of winning trophies at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid Training

The Portuguese superstar allegedly told the squad after they drew away at Celto Vigo: “The Champions League and the Cup are our priorities, we’re going for them.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s attempt to motivate his colleagues is one of many frustrations Ronaldo is believed to be feeling at the moment, with reports suggesting he is attempting to force a move away from the Spanish capital after a ​breakdown in his relationship with the club.

The 32-year old is experiencing his most difficult campaign on a personal note, scoring just four league goals this term in 14 league outings.

Despite their woeful performances in the league, the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League remain realistic targets as Los Meringues attempt to resurrect their dismal season, with Real set to face French champions Paris Saint-Germain in a mouthwatering last 16 contest.

Real will look to get their league campaign back on track when they travel to Leganes this weekend, with Zidane’s side now coming to terms with the notion that a top four finish would resemble something of a success.


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Failure to do so would result in failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League, an embarrassing prospect for a side who conquered European football last season.

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Jordi Alba Trolls Real Madrid After Barcelona’s Remarkable Comeback Against Real Sociedad

Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba has rubbed salt into the wounds of Real Madrid fans, after the Catalans’ victory over Real Sociedad coupled with Los Blancos’ home defeat against Villarreal saw Ernesto Valverde’s side go 19 points ahead of their rivals.

The Spaniard was on duty for the Catalan side as they roared back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat bogey team Real Sociedad on Sunday, with Paulinho, Luis Suarez and Leo Messi all getting on the score-sheet to complete a ​4-2 comeback.

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The victory leaves Barca with a huge lead over fierce rivals and reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid, who fell 1-0 to Villarreal at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday to further compound their disappointing campaign.

And speaking after the game, Alba noted that a 19-point gap would never be accepted by his club’s supporters, if they were the ones on the sour end.

“If Madrid led us by 19 points, in Barcelona they would kill us,” Alba declared, via ​Marca“Nineteen is a huge difference, but we must not forget that Real Madrid will fight until the end.”

Real Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga

Alba also explained why he thinks the La Liga giants are doing so well this season. Barca haven’t lost a single game under new boss Ernesto Valverde, despite losing Neymar over the summer, as well as having to play most of their matches without his replacement, Ousmane Dembele.

“The secret is the team,” he said. “Everyone is involved in defending, pressing and winning the ball back, although it’s true that the differences are made by the strikers.”

Sociedad were probably the one team Real’s players were counting on to do them a solid, with La Blaugrana failing to beat the side at the Estadio de Anoeta on every visit since 2007. But it wasn’t to be, as the leaders proved an unstoppable force, even after staring a two-goal deficit in the face.

“We have known how to suffer here,” Alba added. “And we’ve won three very important points in a stadium where we haven’t won for so long.”

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Real Madrid Press Forward With January Deal for Kepa Despite Zinedine Zidane’s Comments

Real Madrid’s pursuit of Athletic Club goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga appears to have intensified after reports in the Spanish press suggested they want to sign the goalkeeper during this January transfer window.

The 23-year old stopper has been linked with a move to the capital for some time, though recent reports suggested the ​La Liga holders may wait until the end of the season to bring him in for a rumoured £20m fee.

Athletic Club v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

According to ​Marca, ​Los Blancos officials have informed Athletic that the timeline for the deal is to be brought forward, despite m​anager Zinedine Zidane saying last week that he did not envisage the need to sign a goalkeeper at this time.

“As a coach, I say definitely that I don’t need a goalkeeper at this moment,” he explained in a press conference on January 6.

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“If there are changes in June then we will sit down and discuss the matter. I’ll make it clear, I don’t need to sign anyone because I believe in my squad, I’m not going to change my mind.”

News that the club are continuing to pursue the deal regardless will cast even more doubt over Zidane’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the French legend seemingly working on borrowed time after Saturday’s catastrophic 1-0 defeat to Villarreal.

Los Meringues are enduring their worst La Liga campaign in recent memory, with Zidane’s side a distant fourth in the table, trailing arch rivals Barcelona by a staggering 19 points.


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Real’s continued struggled have seen rumours persist around the future of Zidane as manager, and star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who ​according to reports is eyeing a return to former club Manchester United.

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‘Cheated’ Ronaldo Wants Man Utd Return as Real Madrid Plan Audacious Neymar Swap Deal

​Real Madrid are reportedly ready to let Cristiano Ronaldo join Paris Saint-Germain as part of an ambitious swap deal involving the world’s most expensive player Neymar. However, the Ballon d’Or winner apparently wants a return to old club Manchester United, if he leaves the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 32-year-old has reportedly claimed to he feel “cheated” by unfulfilled promises in the Spanish capital after the club failed to improve his contract as planned, and AS report that he is now eyeing an epic return to United.

Ronaldo left Manchester for Madrid in a then world record £80m deal in 2009 and has been linked with a return to the Red Devils for some time, after 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell. However, AS also report that Los Blancos have made former Barcelona star Neymar their primary target and are prepared to let Ronaldo go to Paris as part of the deal.

Brazilian star Neymar became the world’s most expensive player in a £200m move from Barcelona in August, but despite a strong start to his career in Paris, some reports claim he is unhappy with Unai Emery’s tactics and Madrid could move for the 25-year-old after this summer’s World Cup.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khaleifi has claimed Neymar leaving is “impossible” as the club look to add the Champions League to their growing trophy cabinet and become a European force in the coming years.

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Real Madrid suffered another poor result at the weekend, where a 1-0 home defeat to Villarreal left the champions a staggering 19 points behind leaders Barcelona as Zinedine Zidane’s job continues to be in doubt after an awful season that currently see the Champions League holders closer to relegation than to retaining their league title.

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Sergio Ramos Hilariously Trolled After Posting Image of Himself in Bizarre Outfit During Real Loss

​Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos’ Saturday afternoon was one to forget after being trolled online for his rather peculiar choice of clothing while watching his side’s 1-0 defeat at home to Villarreal. 

Pablo Fornals’ deft lob with just three minutes remaining sentenced Los Blancos to their second successive La Liga defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, and their first ever home defeat to the visitors, leaving them still flailing 16 points behind Barcelona at the peak of the Spanish top-flight. 

If witnessing his side’s uninspiring display, and not for the first time this season, was not bad enough for the Spaniard, he then felt the full wrath of social media after taking to Instagram to post a photo of himself in attendance

Ramos was ruled out of the matchday squad due to a calf injury that had also seen him sidelined during Real’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo last weekend, but watched on from an executive box inside the stadium. 

However, despite another lacklustre display on the pitch, fans turned their attention to the 31-year-old off it, who was donning ridiculous matching shoes, polo top, cap and coat all in a rather offensive blue. 

As you would expect, it did not take long for the creative amongst them to put their minds at work, and the results were truly hilarious. 

Ramos was photoshopped behind the desk of a DIY store, with the Batman logo on his chest and working for Dominos Pizza, among many others. 

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​​Barcelona have the chance to add more insult to Ramos and Madrid when they travel to Real Sociedad on Sunday evening, knowing a victory for Blaugrana would see the Spanish capital side drift closer to Alaves in the final relegation spot to that of the league leaders. 

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Medical Madness: Shanghai Shenhua Turn Their Attentions Away From Superstars to Sign Madrid’s Doctor

​Chinese Super Ligue side Shanghai Shenhua have at least for the moment turned their attentions away from attracting the world’s best players, to pinch Real Madrid’s First Team Doctor.

The team, managed by Gus Poyet, have become known for plundering the biggest sides in Europe for their most talented assets, but they have now seemingly moved on to the Medical side of business.

Clearly in an attempt to ascertain any kind of Dave Brailsford-esque edge they can, Shanghai have torn Madrid’s First Team Doctor Joaquin Mas Ribas from his post in the capital, according to the Doctor’s Facebook page.

In a heartfelt message, Ribas, who was evidently passionate about Los Blancos, confirmed he was set to leave his position at the Santiago Bernabeu, and transferring to the Far East. 

In his statement, he thanked his fellow staff at Madrid as well as the ‘great generation of footballers’ he was present alongside in his time there, and recounted the numerous celebrations and victories he had with the team.

The 40 year old, who has previously worked at Levante and Valencia in La Liga, also posted a ​commemorative video of his time at the club.

This is not the first time Real Madrid have been approached by a Chinese club in this transfer window, with reports of ​Chinese Champions Guangzhou Evergrande making a massive offer for superstar Gareth Bale emerging last week.

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Ribas will join a host of familiar faces in Shanghai, including former Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin, and ex Premier League marksmen Demba Ba and Obafemi Martins. 

Undoubtedly their most famous export was Carlos Tevez, who became the highest paid footballer in the world (with an estimated £650,000 a week contract) when he joined from Boca Juniors this time last year.

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However, in the last few days Tevez has rejoined his boyhood club, following a desperate year in China, in which he never appeared settled, nor ascertained an acceptable level of fitness.

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Real Madrid Defender Marcelo Admits ‘We Feel Like We Are Sinking’ After Villarreal Defeat

​Real Madrid full-back Marcelo has admitted that he and his teammates “feel like we are sinking” after ​Saturday’s 1-0 La Liga defeat against Villarreal at the Bernabeu.

The loss left Zinedine Zidane’s side in fourth, 16 points behind rivals and league leaders Barcelona and only a point ahead of Villarreal.

A late Pablo Fornals goal condemned Los Blancos to a fifth defeat of the campaign, and Marcelo has bemoaned his side’s fortunes.

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“It is one of the worst situations I’ve experienced here,” said the Brazilian left-back – quoted by ​BBC Sport. 

“We’re trying to play good football, to move the ball around and score goals but it’s not coming off.

“It is how it looks from the outside – we are sad, angry and we feel like we are sinking.”

Real Madrid are also ten points behind Atletico Madrid and eight back from Valencia, but coach Zinedine Zidane has insisted his side, who had 28 shots on goal against Villarreal, can “turn this around”.

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“We don’t deserve this, we think we played well but the ball just didn’t want to go in for us. I cannot explain why,” he said.

“Today was a hammer blow but we are going to turn things around on Thursday [at Leganes in the Copa del Rey].

“It might be a mental aspect that is stopping us from winning. When we are on a bad run there are always negatives to pick up on.

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“We shot on target but didn’t score, when there were rebounds we were not on the end of them. This can wear you down mentally.

“We did everything possible to win and I honestly cannot reproach my players for their actions. I am not happy but nor do I feel beaten.”

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Real Madrid 0-1 Villarreal: Los Blancos in Disarray After Falling to Late Winner

Villarreal upset the odds and won 1-0 against reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

It was 21-year-old Pablo Fornals who was the hero on the day, as he saw his sublime chip go over Keylor Navas and into the Real Madrid net to hand the Yellow Submarine all three points.

Los Blancos were left frustrated as they had plenty of chances to score, but couldn’t find a way past goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo who put in a Man of the Match performance. The defeat means that Madrid remain 16 points behind leaders Barcelona, with Villarreal now just a point behind Zinedine Zidane’s men.

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The opening minutes of the game were lacking pace and intensity from both sides. Real were happy to have all the possession, but they played without any penetration and made life comfortable for Villarreal.

However, there were early warning signs for the away side as Gareth Bale’s header found the back of the net after he met Cristiano Ronaldo’s flick, but it was flagged for offside.

This set the tempo for the rest of the half as Los Blancos turned their intensity up a notch. The next chance came when theMadrid midfield worked the ball well across the pitch before Marcelo took a sumptuous strike from distance only to be denied by Asenjo.

Madrid were clearly growing in confidence as the game went on, and it was apparent that they would need to be patient in their play against a stubborn Villarreal defence. Ronaldo had two chances within five minutes, with the first being a free-kick 25 yards from goal. His trademark strike was met by a sensational save by Asenjo who tipped it onto the crossbar.

Ronaldo should have put Madrid ahead when Luka Modric put him through with a defence-splitting pass, but his effort trickled just wide of the post.

The FIFA World Player of the Year was involved in every piece of action, and had the easiest chance in the latter stages of the first half when Isco fired the ball to the back post and Ronaldo latched onto it just five yards from goal, but somehow Asenjo got across to save it.

The Yellow Submarine were truly under the cosh and would’ve been thankful to go in all square at the interval.

Villarreal – who had not won any of their previous 17 league visits to Santiago Bernabeu – had the first chance of the second half when substitute Denis Cherysev seized possession and broke through on goal, he had plenty of time to pick his spot, but he fired it just wide.

The away side were finally coming into the game and their attacking intent set the game up to be wide open.

Los Blancos intensity from the first half had gone and they had to wait until the hour mark to claim their first chance when Ronaldo broke down the right and from a tight angle took on the strike, but the ball was fired straight at Asenjo.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock, there were jeers coming from the home fans as frustration was evident within the players and fans alike. Madrid looked uninspired and Villarreal were happy to play down the clock and shut off any attack from the home side.

Zidane tried to motivate his players as he remained animated on the touchline, but his players couldn’t find a breakthrough. Instead, it was Villarreal who broke the deadlock against the run of play. 

The visitors hit Madrid on the break from a Madrid corner and Cherysev sent the ball inside for Unals, but he saw his strike blocked by Navas. However, Fornals was quick to seize on the rebound and chip the ball over the
Madrid keeper and into the net.

This result will only pile even more pressure on the Madrid boss Zidane, as his side find themselves 16 points behind rivals Barcelona and essentially out of the title race.

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