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Real Madrid strikers: Mayoral to understudy Benzema this season

Borja Mayoral has impressed new coach Julen Lopetegui in pre-season and is in line to be handed a more significant first-team role.

Borja Mayoral, ante el United.
Jasen VinloveUSA TODAY Sports

Borja Mayoral is set to be Real Madrid's second-choice centre-forward behind Karim Benzema this season. The Spaniard has impressed Julen Lopetegui in pre-season training, leading Los Blancos' new coach - who has insisted in his opening press conferences as boss that he is happy with the squad he has at his disposal - to conclude that he is ready for a more significant first-team role.

Real Madrid not looking to bring in number nine

Real still have until 31 August to sign players, but as things stand the club's stance is very clear: they are not looking to bring in a striker. Diario AS revealed last weekend that a move for attacking midfielder Eden Hazard has been ruled out because the LaLiga giants are not willing to break the bank or make signings for the sake of it - and that is also their attitude towards buying a number nine.

The top goalscorers around would come at a price that Real Madrid are not prepared to part with. Nor do they want to pay what is in today's market considered a 'run-of-the-mill' fee of 40 to 50 million euros for a player a class below the likes of Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane.

Club confident Mayoral can plunder 15 to 20 goals

Club chiefs feel that Mayoral is ready to step up. Last term, he was given just 927 minutes of first-team action, yet still managed six goals. The feeling at the Bernabéu is that, if given more frequent game time, he can increase that haul to 15 or 20. Any striker on the market offering the prospect of such a return would command a sizeable fee, so Real believe they would be better served saving that money and giving their 21-year-old youth product a chance to flourish.

A host of clubs, such as Real Betis and Alavés, have enquired about Mayoral, but have all got the same response: he's going nowhere. For his part, the player had been set on leaving this summer in search of regular football but, given the confidence being shown in him by Lopetegui, has now changed his mind - and is excited at the challenge of being handed a major role at his boyhood club.

De Tomás in line to be loaned out

Meanwhile, fellow striker Raúl de Tomás' situation is somewhat different. The academy graduate is highly rated at the club, but it is felt that he needs to gain top-flight experience and, although a final decision has not yet been made, a loan move may well be sought. De Tomás, 23, still has a few weeks and games in which to earn a spot in Lopetegui's squad, but is currently behind Mayoral in the running.


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