Arsenal have joined fellow Premier League side Manchester United in the race to sign Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, according to reports.
The Gunners and the Red Devils are looking to sign a new striker over the next couple of transfer windows with both clubs lacking depth up front.
Man Utd are hoping to find a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal international left Old Trafford by mutual consent at the end of the November after his controversial interview with Piers Morgan.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are looking for some more depth in the forward areas with Gabriel Jesus out injured for a while and Eddie Nketiah providing the only back-up.
Benzema is out of contract at the end of this season with the player free to talk to clubs about a potential move from January 1 and Spanish publication Nacional insist that Arsenal and Man United are at the front of the queue.
It was reported earlier this month that United had offered Benzema a ‘crazy salary’ for him to join them at the end of the campaign while they also moved to ‘assure’ him that he would be an ‘undisputed starter’ at Old Trafford.
Nacional insist that there is currently ‘no evidence that there are conversations with Real Madrid to certify the renewal of his contract’ despite Los Blancos president Florentino Perez having ‘no doubt that they will end up reaching an agreement sooner or later’.
44 goals in 46 matches in all competitions for Real Madrid last season saw him crowned the latest winner of the Ballon d’Or gong with Benzema expecting to be ‘rewarded accordingly’.
Benzema wants a ‘considerable salary increase’ that will make him the highest-paid player in the Real Madrid squad and wants a new two-year contract, not just one.
His demands mean they ‘remain far away’ from a resolution and now Arsenal and Man United ‘intend to take advantage of that situation’ with Benzema being ‘tempted’ by the Premier League duo.
Arsenal are an ‘admirer’ and ‘could start contacts’ with Benzema and his agent in January. Despite Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta being ‘incredibly satisfied’ with Jesus, ‘he knows that the Brazilian prefers to play on a wing’ and the Spaniard is looking for a ‘pure nine’.
And Arteta is ready to ‘make a very interesting proposal’ with Arsenal currently in a strong position in the Premier League and set to return to the Champions League if they keep their current form up until the end of the season.
Man Utd also ‘hope they can convince’ Benzema and ‘will use’ the Frenchman’s former team-mates Raphael Varane and Casemiro to convince him to sign.
Benzema scored six goals in his first 12 matches in all competitions for Real Madrid in the first half of the season but Carlo Ancelotti insists the 35-year-old wants to do better.
“We’ve got Benzema back and that’s good,” Ancelotti told reporters on Thursday (via Yahoo). “He came back on December 10.
“He started working with the team, played 30 minutes and 45 minutes in friendlies and he’s doing well, with enormous enthusiasm.
“He knows that his first leg of the season has not been good and he wants to show things in the second. He’s going to show all his quality in this stretch of the season.”
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