Manchester United have rejected the chance to sign Karim Benzema due to the Frenchman’s “sky-high wage demands” with the club feeling the pressure of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
Neil Custis (The Sun) reveals Old Trafford officials have “turned down” the 36-year-old despite Erik ten Hag’s desperate need for reinforcements up front.
United are currently languishing in seventh place in the Premier League table. Only Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Burnley have scored fewer goals than Ten Hag’s side this season.
They have also already crashed out of the Champions League and Carabao Cup in abysmal fashion. The club’s trip to Newport County on Sunday – in the FA Cup 4th round – constitutes United’s last chance of success this year.
As such, heading into the January transfer window, the Dutch manager was believed to have requested a new striker in an effort to buttress his misfiring forward line.
This need will have become even more desperate in the light of Anthony Martial’s hip injury. The French forward – whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season – will miss the next ten weeks as he undergoes surgery to correct the problem. It’s reasonable to wonder whether the 27-year-old has played his last game for the club at this stage.
This leaves Rasmus Hojlund as the only recognised striker in United’s senior squad. The 20-year-old has struggled for goals domestically, despite being the Champions League’s joint-top scorer.
It was a tall order to rely on such a green player following his £72 million transfer from Atalanta in the summer. The Dane has impressed in his debut season but it’s clear he needs more support up front; as any striker likely would at Old Trafford this year.
This is why the prospect of an experienced world-class (at least recently anyway) striker like Benzema was such an alluring one. His age would also make him a perfect compliment to Hojlund, rather than instead of.
The Frenchman left Real Madrid to join Al-Ittihad last summer, relocating to the Saudi Pro League for an eye-watering amount. His wages at his new club are believed to be in the region of £86 million-a-year.
United are constrained in their movements this transfer window. The club are being forced to pay “careful” attention to their “wage bill and budget” to stay within FFP guidelines. As such, Ten Hag will probably have to accept that any new recruits will be loan signings.
And while Benzema may be available on a loan deal, Custis contends Old Trafford officials have ruled out a move due to his “exorbitant” wages.