BERGAMO, ITALY - MAY 08: Duvan Zapata of Udinese Calcio in action during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on May 8, 2016 in Bergamo, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo 2 and a half years ago, Real Madrid has not had a reference player in attack to fill the void left by the Portuguese. While it is true that Benzema has had a remarkable performance since then, his playing profile is not that of a born striker, but that of a second striker, standing out in characteristic features of an offensive midfielder. This is surprising since the investment made by the Whites in attackers has been significant with signings such as Hazard 115 million Jovic 63 million, Vinícius 45 million Rodrygo 45 million, or even Mariano  21 million played by Olympique de Lyon. However, only Jovic and Mariano are players who could be considered natural strikers but who for various reasons have had a very limited number of opportunities. The first also is about to be loaned to his home club Eintracht Frankfurt.

The second part of the season is demanding, to come back in LaLiga 4 points behind Atletico de Madrid, but which has two fewer games and advancing in the UEFA Champions League to improve last season’s result eliminated in the last 16 for Manchester City so it would not be surprising if Real Madrid were looking for reinforcements and, especially, for their attack line. Although the current situation indeed restricts the spending capacity of the club various formulas could allow a restructuring of the squad: transfer with or without a future purchase option, cross transfer of players purchase through the player exchange, etc. With all this, and using data from Opta we have explored the market of the 5 major leagues LaLiga Premier League Bundesliga Serie A, and Ligue 1.

In this case, we have analyzed the yield harvested in the last two and a half seasons. In other words, we are looking for experienced players in high-level leagues who have had an outstanding performance but also sustained over time. Therefore, we have taken as a sample the forwards who have played at least the equivalent of 10 complete games in each of the seasons already ended 18/19 and 19/20, and 5 complete games in the current season 20 / 21. The parameters considered have been: Goals ex. Penalties Total Kicks Assists Chances Created, Dribbles Completed, Aerial Duels Won, Touches in Opponent Area, and Possession Recovered in the Last Third. The podium results are not surprising, with the best being Messi, Neymar, and Mbappé, as we will see in the table below. Mbappe, slightly behind, nevertheless has a higher scoring efficiency ratio than the other two, scoring about 1 out of every 4 shots.

Now, in the context of our search, we have found a player who may be of great interest to the white family: Duván Zapata. Colombian, 29, about to turn thirty, plays for Atalanta, Real Madrid’s next rival in the Champions League. Zapata is not only one of the best players based on the analysis carried out, but he is also a player very similar to past goals of Real Madrid, Robert Lewandowski, and Timo Werner, as we will see below.

As we can see, in addition to being a great spiker, he has a goal-to-shot ratio of 18%, Zapata also generates changes regularly, being a good complement for a second striker. Accustomed to playing as the only forward, in a 3-4-2-1 system but also to play with a teammate Muriel or Ilicic this season in a 3-4-1-2 system, he could offer different options to Zidane’s team.

On the economic level, the Colombian has a market value of 38 million, according to Transfermarkt, and 30-40 million, according to CIES. Although the president of Atalanta, Antonio Percassi, valued the Colombian player at 80 million last summer, the current delicate situation could allow purchase at a considerably lower price, as we already anticipated in MARCA. And as we mentioned above, the Italian team is likely willing to consider various formulas that could lower the cost of the operation. As we always remember, it is important to note that all of the above is merely indicative and that any hypothetical decision should be supported by video analysis and a more comprehensive evaluation. Not to mention that any result obtained comes from a selection of parameters that do not have to coincide with those used by the Sports Directorate in a supposed recruitment process.