Home » Manchester United “test the waters” for Karim Benzema

Manchester United “test the waters” for Karim Benzema

by Darragh Fox
Karim Benzema

Manchester United are believed to have made an ambitious approach for Karim Benzema as the French forward continues to be linked with a move back to European football.

The 36-year-old striker left Real Madrid in the summer to join Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League. His wages at his new club are believed to be worth in excess of £80 million a year.

Benzema was made captain of Al-Ittihad as the club’s crown jewel signing, alongside Fabinho (Liverpool), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) and Jota (Celtic).

However, the Frenchman was believed to have quickly fallen out with manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

Reports suggested the pair had a fractious relationship which ultimately influenced club officials to sack the Portuguese manager in November. Nuno then joined Nottingham Forest as Steve Cooper’s replacement in December.

But it now appears Benzema could be set to follow in his previous manager’s footsteps by swapping the Saudi Pro League for the Premier League after falling out with Nuno’s replacement – Marcelo Gallardo.

Gallardo axed the French forward from the first-team squad after he failed to report for a winter training camp following the Saudi Pro League’s midseason break. As a result, Benzema is believed to have asked to leave Al-Ittihad.

L’Equipe contend this breakdown between the player and club has led United to “test the waters” with an enquiry about Benzema. The French outlet also believes Chelsea have made a similar approach for the 36-year-old.

Erik ten Hag’s squad have struggled severely in front of goal this season. The Dutchman was believed to have made a new forward a priority in January, but the pressures of financial fair play regulations have constrained the club’s capability in the market.

As such, a player with Benzema’s track record in front of goal, who may be available on loan, appeared a logical fit for United. One former midfield general at Old Trafford – Paul Ince – certainly agrees, describing the potential signing as a “great bit of business.”

L’Equipe also reveals the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the entity who control the Saudi Pro League – are adamant they do not want to lose one of their league’s star assets. Instead, they would be willing to facilitate a transfer to a different Saudi club in order to keep Benzema in the league.

In order for this to happen, however, Al-Ittihad would have to consent to the deal, which the French outlet reveals is “not the case at the moment.”

As the European winter window enters its final two days, this feels a prospective transfer which has a few more twists and tales left in it.

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