Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz has reportedly emerged as a priority transfer target for Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco.
As per a report from Spanish publication MARCA, Ligue 1 giants AS Monaco are planning to go all out to sign Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz, who does not appear to feature in Zinedine Zidane’s plans, in this summer’s transfer window.
Mariano came through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and broke into the senior team in 2016 under Zidane. The 25-year-old made just 11 first-team appearances for the Merengues, before leaving the club for Ligue 1 heavyweights Olympique Lyon in the summer of 2017.
Mariano enjoyed a stunning spell with Les Gones during which he bagged 21 goals and 6 assists in 45 matches across all competitions, which prompted Real Madrid to re-sign him from the French club last summer. Upon returning to the Santiago Bernabeu the striker took over Cristiano Ronaldo’s No.7 jersey but failed to live up to the expectations.
Mariano managed just 22 appearances in the last season for Real Madrid, only six of which came from the start. The 25-year-old bagged just 4 goals and struggled to provide able support to first-choice striker Karim Benzema, although injuries did hamper him to some extent.
However, his second spell with Real Madrid could be short-lived as it seems like the centre-forward doesn’t seem to be involved in Zidane’s first-team plans ahead of the 2019-20 season. Mariano has not featured for even a single minute during Los Blancos’ pre-season campaign and with Luka Jovic signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, Real have enough firepower upfront.
With Mariano’s situation unlikely to improve, Ligue 1 heavyweights AS Monaco are willing to offer him a way out of his misery at Real Madrid by making a swoop for the 25-year-old. The Principality outfit struggled last season, avoiding relegation by only two points. And manager Leonardo Jardim wants to strengthen his squad to avoid a similar outcome next time out.
Captain and first-choice striker Falcao is 33 years old now, while Stevan Jovetic is likely to miss the first half of the season, having picked up an ACL injury. So, signing a new centre-forward becomes a priority for Monaco and to that end, they are prepared to go all out in their pursuit of Mariano Diaz.
The 25-year-old had been offered to Premier League giants Arsenal in a deal worth £18 million. Having released Danny Welbeck at the end of the last season, the Gunners could have done with someone like Mariano as a backup, but they are believed to be close to signing Nicolas Pepe, who can play centrally, while Eddie Nketiah and summer arrival Gabriel Martinelli can provide cover.
Mariano is contracted with Real Madrid till 2023. But, with him not being in Zidane’s plans, the La Liga giants will look to cash in, in order to balance the books after having spent heavily this summer. It remains to be seen if the 25-year-old does end up returning to Ligue 1 with Monaco before the upcoming campaign.