There have been a recent prevalence of rumours in the French press, written with a sense of genuine conviction, that Karim Benzema was offered to Marseille on transfer deadline day on a seasons long loan deal. Despite Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho continuously complaining all summer about his lack of options in the centre forward position – his options are limited to Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo, traditionally a player who prefers attacking from a wide position, on occasion too – the Spanish club were still prepared to let Benzema leave. At the same moment that Benzema was being offered to Marseille, who ended up signing Andre-Pierre Gignac instead, Real Madrid were preparing a last minute offer for Marco Borriello, then of AC Milan, who instead ended up moving to Roma.
The reason this web of deals failed to materialise was because Karim Benzema refused to return to France, specifically to Marseille, rivals of his boyhood club Lyon. Benzema was insistent on staying, saying, seemingly, that he still had to prove himself at Los Blancos and even if he were going to leave it would never be for Marseille. Jose Mourinho, however, has made a point to the player. On first impressions, he is not wanted, and if he is going to establish himself in the side he needs to improve drastically. If he doesn’t Real Madrid will again entertain offers in January, when the European transfer window reopens. This has now led to suggestions in the British newspapers that Manchester United and Liverpool will battle it out in the new year for the young Frenchman, hopeful of signing a player for close to £18 million who only twelve months ago cost Real Madrid almost £30 million.
It would represent a coup for either side those as of this very moment any such move appears altogether unlikely. Manchester United have a surplus of strikers, even sending two, Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf, out on loan for the season. The Red Devils will also reason that a move for Benzema might not even be necessary on the grounds that the club already has a striker on its books of a very similar fashion, the young Federico Macheda. In Liverpool’s case the reason for a move appearing unlikely is far more simple. Liverpool are clearly short of cash, despite selling Mascherano, and the current board are still looking for new owners to takeover. Should a takeover happen by January, however, a move for Benzema might be a method of appealing, and even appeasing, the Liverpool fans. Financially, it would also be a wise move. Benzema is evidently capable and still young enough to warrant a decent resale value should the move not turn out as hoped. Between now and January, however, Karim Benzema will be trying to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu and prove to his coach, Jose Mourinho, that his initial impression of him was wrong.