Manchester United and Arsenal transfer target Karim Benzema appears to be moving towards the exit door at Real Madrid, with Rafael Benitez understood to be lining up Fernando Llorente as the Frenchman’s replacement.
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Since Benitez’s arrival at the Bernabeu, Benzema’s future has been plunged into uncertainty.
The ex-Liverpool coach has indicated that he is keen to employ Cristiano Ronaldo as a centre-forward, which would immediately make it difficult to see how the former Olympique Lyonnais man fits into the Spanish coach’s plans [Daily Mail].
According to talkSPORT, the coach has now identified Juventus forward Fernando Llorente as a key transfer target this summer, which would mean further competition for the central-striking berth.
While Llorente’s arrival would definitely complicate matters for Benzema, the fact that Benitez is keen on the 30-year-old hitman immediately demonstrates something of a lack of faith in the Frenchman.
Particularly surprising is the fact that the veteran Llorente only managed seven Serie A goals last season, while Benzema—admittedly flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale—managed 15.
The news can be seen as a major hint that the 27-year-old is surplus to requirements in the Spanish capital.
If this is the case, then he will have no shortage of suitors.
United have been heavily linked with his signature, particularly since the player’s agent was photographed meeting with the Red Devils’ executive vice chairman Ed Woodward in a London hotel at the beginning of June [Manchester Evening News].
However, Arsenal are also understood to be keen on the forward—with Arsene Wenger a long-term admirer—and the Alsacian coach could ensure that the currently unwanted Benzema feels loved again in North London [Metro].