Benzema ‘set to partner Van Persie at Arsenal’
Transfer Talk: Bendtner and others could be sold to pay for Real Madrid’s unhappy striker
Has Karim Benzema taken leave of his senses, or is life under Jose Mourinho so bad at Real Madrid that the Frenchman is seriously considering a move to Arsenal, the club that has taken out a super-injunction against silverware?
According to Spanish rag Marca, the 23-year-old is considering walking out of the Bernabeu after being axed from the Real squad that played Barcelona in the recent Champions League semi-final. And having heard that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is interested in bringing him to the Emirates to partner Robin van Persie, Benzema is apparently eager to make a fresh start with the north London club.
It's claimed by Marca that Wenger has always been a fan of Benzema's but wasn't prepared to fork out the £35m that Real paid Lyon for the striker two years ago. But with his price tag now slashed to around £20m, the Arsenal boss is apparently ready to do business.
It's rumoured that Danish frontman Nicklas Bendtner will be on his way out of north London this summer, one of a number of players about to be axed by Wenger, and the money made from the sale will go towards buying Benzema. Despite his infrequent appearances for the Spanish giants this season, Benzema has still managed to score 23 goals, the sort of strike record that Bendtner can only dream about.
Cesc Fabregas's departure from the Emirates grows ever more likely after it was revealed that the player's family has met with Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. Catalan newspaper GOL reports that the Fabregas clan recently sat down with the Barca boss though they admitted they didn't know whether it was to discuss a transfer deal or simply to advise Guardiola on the best Spanish restaurants in the Wembley area ahead of their Champions League final against Manchester United.
GOL alleges that Barcelona have yet to make an official approach to the Gunners about the availability of the 24-year-old midfielder but it's believed Arsenal will be more open to offers than they were this time last year.
However, Arsenal's hopes of hanging on to French midfielder Samir Nasri have received a boost after his agent told Italian website calciomercato.it. that the 23-year-old was committed to the Gunners. "There is no interest from Juventus and Inter Milan," said Alain Migliaccio after rumours linked Nasri to Serie A. "There is no break with Arsenal, and in fact, we have opened negotiations to extend his existing contract that expires in 2012."
Manchester United are back in the hunt for Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer after Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge denied reports the 25-year-old was already signed. Neuer has refused to sign a new deal with Schalke and insists he will be playing his football elsewhere next season.
Bayern, United and even Arsenal have all been linked with him in recent months but now it appears Bayern are growing tired of his dilly-dallying: "I don't really think we are going to find a quick agreement," Rummenigge told Bild when asked if a deal with Neuer was imminent. "I am also not convinced that Bayern and Schalke will find a price which suits them both. We will have to wait and see - the transfer window is still open for four more months."
But Bayern might be about to pinch Fabio Coentrao from under the nose of Chelsea. The Benfica left-back, also on Real Madrid's radar, had been mooted as a Blues target not so long ago with the £26m price tag no problem for owner Roman Abramovich. But reports from Germany suggest Bayern have already made a £20m bid for the 23-year-old, with Benfica telling them they need to add a little more to their offer. ·
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