This summer Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema had been linked with a move to Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. Although, most of the reports were generated by the UK tabloids (credibility always comes in question), but Spanish media also speculated about his position at the club, as there was a growing feeling that Madrid might replace him with a top striker like Radamel Falcao, Sergio Aguero or Edinson Cavani.
Benzema, who always wanted to play for Real Madrid, has sent a strong message to all his suitors by signing a long term contract at Madrid till 2019. Though long term contracts hardly mean anything these days, ask Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez for that matter, both had signed a long term contract the season before they left their clubs to join Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Last Sunday, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas spoke about Benzema’s departure to Real Madrid in 2009. The Frenchman was sold for a reported fee of €35m, but Aulus revealed that Premier League giants Manchester United, who were heavily interested in him as well, had tabled up even bigger offer. But, Benzema always wanted to join Real Madrid and the club didn’t want to jeopardise his ambition.
“He had wished to play at Madrid for a long time and when the negotiations started we didn’t oppose to his wish. United’s offer was bigger but we gave him the chance of going where he wished to go,” said Aulas to Canal Football Club.
Benzema was transferred in the same summer when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Real Madrid for a record breaking transfer fee. After being re-elected as club president, Florentino Perez was getting busy in assembling a set of galacticos; Madrid added Kaka, Alonso, and Albiol along with Ronaldo within a space of few weeks.
United on the other hand were coming to terms with the possible departure of Carlos Tevez as well. Signing a prolific goal scorer was a top priority and Sir Alex Ferguson had set his sight on Benzema, a player on whom United reportedly kept tabs for a while.
The Red Devils were touted as favourites to land Benzema, and even his then team mate Miralem Pjanic revealed to the media that the Frenchman was on his way to Old Trafford. The £80 million from Real for Ronaldo was burning a hole in the pocket, only and only one club could have been a roadblock to Benzema’s path to Old Trafford: Florentino Perez’s Real Madrid.
Reports suggested that United didn’t want to enter a bidding war with Real Madrid, as it would have been a futile attempt had they chose to do so. Benzema after early struggles at Madrid has slowly gained a strong foothold in the first team in face of intense competition. Could this be a ploy from Madrid to sell him for a high price next summer? Will any English club take a gamble to sign him? Have your say below…