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Real Madrid add Benzema

Karim Benzema is poised to become the latest big-name arrival at Real Madrid after Lyon accepted a bid from the Spanish side for the highly-rated France international.

The 21-year-old is set to join Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo in signing a six-year contract at the Bernabeu after his French employers agreed to a 35million euro (£29.7million) approach from Madrid, who with this deal will see their summer spending spree pass the 200million euro mark.

The fee could yet rise to 41million euros (£34.8m) dependent on performance clauses.

A statement posted on Madrid’s official website this evening confirmed the deal, saying:

“Real Madrid C.F. and Olympique Lyonnais have reached an agreement for the transfer of Karim Benzema, contingent upon the player’s medical examination and the signing of his contracts. The 21-year-old striker will sign a six-year contract with Real Madrid.”

Benzema will become Florentino Perez’s fourth signing since returning to the Madrid presidency a month ago, following the arrivals of Kaka, Ronaldo and Raul Albiol.

Madrid and Manchester United had been vying for the services of Benzema but a deal appeared unlikely with Lyon continuing to insist before today that the player would remain at the Stade Gerland for at least one more season.

However, Lyon announced the deal on their official website this afternoon. The statement on olweb.fr read:

“A few days ago Karim Benzema informed the club president Jean Michel Aulas of his desire to move to the Madrid club, which had always been his favourite club after Lyon, earlier than he had foreseen. The player wanted to seize the opportunity which Real Madrid offered him to be one of the major elements in their new ambitious project based around the greatest players of the world. Lyon accepted Karim Benzema’s decision and negotiated the conditions of a transfer which satisfies all the different parties. The club wishes Karim the greatest success with Real Madrid.”

The France forward came through the ranks at Lyon and burst onto the scene in the 2007-08 season with 31 goals in 51 games, a streak that saw him named Ligue 1 player of the year as well as top the league’s scoring charts.

The last campaign was less impressive for both club and player, as Lyon ended the season without the Ligue 1 title for the first time in eight years, but Benzema nevertheless scored 23 goals in all competitions – an average of a goal every other game.