After finishing third in La Liga last season, Real Madrid are hell bent on reclaiming what they feel is rightfully theirs. Fierce rivals Atlético Madrid pipped Madrid and Barcelona to top spot on the final day of the campaign, forcing Los Blancos into action this summer. At the time of writing, Madrid have acquired the services of Toni Kroos, James Rodríguez and Keylor Navas with an outlay nearing £100 million.
Madrid supposedly have not stopped there either, with reports strongly linking them with a move for Radamel Falcao. The Colombian, who missed the second half of last season and the World Cup with a knee injury, only moved to Monaco last summer but is reportedly on his way back to Spain this month. Any deal taking Falcao to the Bernabeu would see him link up with former teammate Rodríguez and it goes without saying the Colombia international would more than make up for the departure of Álvaro Morata. Despite spending the last 12 months in France, only Lionel Messi (124) and Cristiano Ronaldo (111) have scored more league goals than Falcao (52) in the last 3 La Liga seasons.
For a side that scored more league goals (104) than every team in Spain's top tier last term, the need for a striker is not necessarily a priority. Factor in that Karim Benzema recently signed a new 5-year contract and despite the departure of Morata for Juventus, Madrid could easily strengthen elsewhere
Nevertheless, with the amount of chances Madrid create - Ancelotti's side played 99 more key passes than any other team in La Liga last season (592) - a striker of Falcao's prolificacy would undoubtedly see the number of goals scored rise. With Ancelotti able to call on Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, some are of the opinion Madrid would have the best attack in the game if Falcao joins.
Between them last season, the three players netted 55 league goals and that figure could well have been higher had Falcao not succumbed to a serious knee problem in January. His goalscoring return in the Primera División during his 2-year spell with Atlético reinforces his striking prowess and it's likely Falcao would better his exploits in front of goal when supported by Ronaldo and Bale.
Perhaps the only teams that could rival Madrid's potential attack in Europe's top 5 leagues are Barcelona and Bayern Munich, while honourable mentions go to Borussia Dortmund, PSG, Chelsea and Arsenal. The focus is on teams who use a similar offensive system to Real Madrid, so Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus, amongst others, are discounted as they are expected to, or already use, a two-man striker system.
The obvious contenders are Barcelona, who have strengthened considerably this summer. While Alexis Sánchez and Cristian Tello have joined Arsenal and FC Porto respectively, the Blaugrana have brought in Luis Suarez to bolster an attack consisting of Neymar and Lionel Messi. Suarez is not available until October due to the 4-month ban imposed by FIFA for biting Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup, but will return in time for the first Clasico of the season, while Pedro is a more than sufficient stand in until then.
Combined, the trio bagged an astonishing 68 league goals and a strikeforce of that power, should they adjust their game to suit one another, has the ability to sweep aside all before them. However, the sale of Cesc Fàbregas could hinder their chances of reclaiming the Primera División title. Fans may not have been too concerned to see the back of the midfielder, but Fàbregas created more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities (27) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues last season.
With Suarez added to an attack already teeming with talent, Barcelona's scalpel sharp offensive trident would have thrived with the Spaniard operating behind them. Now, though, the creative mantel has been passed to summer acquisition Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian was one of only five players to register double figures for goals and assists (12 goals and 10 assists) in Spain's top tier last season, so also provides a further threat from midfield. The former Sevilla star is considered a more-rounded midfielder than Fàbregas and should form a dynamic midfield trio with Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta, which is likely to provide ample goalscoring opportunities for Messi, Neymar and, once he returns to action, Suarez.
Bayern, though, will look to give the Spanish giants a run for their money in the attacking stakes. While Kroos and Mario Mandzukic have departed for Madrid, the Bundesliga champions acquired the services of Robert Lewandowski on a free from title rivals Dortmund. The Pole was the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga last season (20 goals), while Lewandowski, Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben between them last term netted 41 league goals. That return may not match the Liga duo, but playing 34 games compared to 38 means it is little surprise Madrid, including Falcao, and Barcelona netted more than Bayern's current attacking trio in their respective leagues.
Pep Guardiola may have his Bayern side play a different system to Madrid and Barcelona, preferring a 4-1-4-1 formation to the 4-3-3 commonly associated with Spain's conquering duopoly, but Lewandowski will be tasked with spearheading the attack as he did with aplomb for Dortmund. With Ribéry and Robben often cutting inside, the shape when they attack resembles a 4-3-3 and you can be sure the trio will be confident of firing Bayern to domestic glory in the upcoming campaign.
With Madrid rumoured to be closing in on the signature of Falcao, their attack will have rivals cast envious eyes over the Bernabeu. Barcelona and Bayern may challenge them for Europe's strongest offensive line, however. Luis Enrique and Guardiola have offensive options available to them that will guarantee goals for their respective teams, but one thing is for certain - fans will be treated to goals at the Bernabeu, Camp Nou and Allianz Arena once more this term.Suggest a correction