Manchester United and Arsenal have seen their prospects of signing a brilliant striker on a free transfer this summer ended amid claims the player is on the brink of signing a new deal.
The Premier League rivals are both in the market for reinforcements this summer as they look to strengthen their squads. And with both enjoying 2022/23 campaigns that exceeded expectations, both sides look on course to return to the Champions League next season.
For Arsenal, it will represent a first foray into the competition since 2017 when they were brually annihilated by Bayern Munich. Their line-up that night shows exactly how far the Gunners have come since then.
For United, they look ready to return after a year-long absence. But having finished fifth and sixth last season, the two sides appear to be on an upward trajectory.
As a result, it is quite likely that the two clubs may well be competing for some of the same targets this summer.
However, one bargain deal that had seemingly caught both their eyes was Karim Benzema.
The reigning Balon d’Or winner has been with Real Madrid since summer 2009, joining in a bargain move from Lyon. In that time, he has scored a whopping 341 goals for the club in 632 appearances, taking his career tally to 442 overall.
However, with his contract due to expire this summer, talk was growing that Benzema could be tempted by one final career challenge.
As a result, the 97-times capped France star is reportedly on both Arsenal and Manchester United’s transfer radars.
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Benzema ready to sign new Real Madrid contract
Available as a free agent, it is easy to see why both United and Arsenal were seemingly keeping a close watch on his situation.
However, Benzema has always made it clear he wants to stay at the Bernabeu and extend his long stay there.
And now L’Equipe reports that the player is close to getting his wish by agreeing an extension to his Los Blancos deal.
The new arrangement will keep Benzema at the Bernabeu until summer 2024, by which time he will turn 36.
And it seems both the player and the club are happy to continue renewing the relationship on an annual basis.
Benzema, for his part, is in no apparent rush to call time on his career. Having blasted in an incredible 44 goals last season, he already has 18 in 27 appearances this season.
And the five-times Champions League winner will be hoping to reach the last eight of the competition on Wednesday evening. They hold a 5-2 first-leg advantage over Liverpool and will be strongly fancied to finish off the job.
Few would back against them retaining the trophy they won in Paris last season. This season’s showpiece will be at Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium; Benzema will have high hopes of holding the Champions League aloft once again.
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