Real Madrid see Harry Kane as the best accessible option to replace Karim Benzema, but the club are looking at other candidates as they are aware that signing the forward from Tottenham will be difficult.
The England captain, who has scored 32 goals this season, has the right profile to play for Madrid, sources have said, but there are question marks over his age, his transfer fee and Spurs’ reluctance to let their marquee player to leave.
Madrid had planned to sign a backup forward such as Espanyol’s Joselu to act as an alternative to Benzema and wait until next summer before making a significant investment up front.
Club sources have been reluctant to speak openly about interest in signing Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe, but some are willing to admit that a move for one of the two had been planned for 2024, when Benzema’s time at Madrid was set to come to an end.
Benzema’s shock decision to leave Madrid this month — accepting an offer from Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad — has now forced the club to change their plans, to ensure that they have an attack of the necessary quality next season.
Madrid are close to completing the signing of Joselu to replace Mariano but will now need to move for a first-choice No. 9 who can fill the void left by Benzema, who has scored 31 goals in all competitions despite an inconsistent campaign.
The problem the club face is that there are few options in the market — with Haaland and Mbappe staying at Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain respectively for at least another season — who fit the bill.
Roberto Firmino, who is available on a free transfer after his contract expired at Liverpool and Chelsea’s Kai Havertz have both been linked to Madrid, but club sources admit that Kane is the only available forward who has consistently scored the requisite number of goals, year after year.
Nonetheless, there are also doubts within the club regarding the possible signing of the Premier League forward.
Kane will turn 30 next month, and Madrid’s recent transfer policy has seen them focus on signing up-and-coming talents such as Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni.
Madrid are aware that a fee of around €100 million would be required to land Kane, and that would have a major impact on this summer’s budget, when the club were already planning to spend heavily on Jude Bellingham as well as reinforcing a number of other positions.
Florentino Perez also has previous experience of tough negotiations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, after the signings of Luka Modric in 2012 and Gareth Bale in 2013.
All this means that while Madrid consider a move for Kane, they are also assessing other options.
In February, ESPN reported that the LaLiga club were tracking various forwards, including Kane’s Tottenham teammate Richarlison and Dusan Vlahovic of Juventus, considering it was already “essential” to strengthen the attack, even with Benzema expected to continue.
The Ballon d’Or winner’s exit comes alongside the departures of three more forwards: Marco Asensio, Eden Hazard and Mariano.
Joselu — who would arrive on loan — and Brahim Diaz, who returns from a loan spell at AC Milan, are set to be the first to arrive to strengthen the front line, but they will not be the last.