Race on for Lyon hotshot?
According to reports Manchester United are locked in a transfer battle with Real Madrid and Chelsea for Lyon’s in-demand forward Karim Benzema, after Carlos Tevez is set to leave Old Trafford after rejecting a new five year contract. From what I’ve seen of him in the Champions League and in the French league he could certainly cause plenty of problems in the Premier League.
Lyon’s president has admitted there has been an approach for Benzema, but for the moment he claims to have convinced the 21-year-old to stay. Whether this is true or not I don’t really want to guess, his agent might say otherwise.
Personally I think Benzema would be my own preferred choice out of United’s rumoured transfer targets, as good as Franck Ribery is at £60million I’m not sure he is that much better than Benzema whose reported price is closer to the £30million mark. Benzema is the younger of the two players with Ribery five years his senior at 26. His record at Lyon is pretty good, with over 40 goals from just over 100 appearances. He also has a decent record for the French side scoring on average a goal every four games, taking into account that many of these were probably as a substitute. ‘Le Phénomène’ has also beeen the Ligue 1 top goal scorer and player of the year before and he has the credentials to be a success in the Premier League.
People may discount the French league as a weaker league but there is still plenty of quality in France and Ronaldo himself came from the Portuguese league which is arguably a less competitive competition than Ligue 1. Benzema has also stood out in the Champions League, in particular against Manchester United – remember that screamer he scored in the 1-1 draw when he turned four players inside out and hit a low drive right into the bottom corner? For me there isn’t really an issue as to whether he has the quality or not.
The question will remain though as to whether Sir Alex Ferguson can convince him to move to Old Trafford instead of Stamford Bridge or the Santiago Bernabeu. Real have reportedly been loaned around 800 million euros to spend on new players and Chelsea are never short of cash to splash around. When you’re dealing with clubs the size of United, Real and Chelsea it isn’t necessarily all about money though and United could well be the most attractive option.
The loss of Ronaldo will no doubt impact on United’s title challenge but they’re still the favourites in the Premier League betting odds to emerge victorious next year. Ferguson has an outstanding record in the transfer market and he knows a good player (though there is the odd mistake, Eric Djemba Djemba and Kléberson…).
At the moment at least the rumour mill is suggesting that Benzema is Ferguson’s priority at the moment but as we all know the rumours just fly around at the moment and it could be Frank Ribery or Antonio Valencia who Ferguson is targeting and not Benzema. In a bit of weird transfer nonsense you can actually bet on Peter Crouch moving to Old Trafford in the soccer specials betting markets so it shows just how crazy these rumours can get but there does seem to be some credence in the rumours linking Benzema with Old Trafford.