It was the news that Sir Alex Ferguson was dreading – this summer’s principal transfer target, Olimpique Lyonnais’ Karim Benzema, has joined the Real Madrid gravy-train on a six-year contract. The striker, 21, has been the subject of a flurry of negotiations over the past 48 hours, with both United and Madrid seemingly making offers over £30 million for the French international. However, Benzema’s desire to join Real ahead of United, in addition to an extra £5 million in add-on fees that the Spanish club have offered, won the day.
The news means that United will now have to seek alternate striking options or trust in youth for the coming season after the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez. But those alternatives are thin on the ground, with top class strikers a rare commodity outside of the major European clubs.
While David Villa and Samuel Eto’o were seemingly available at the start of the summer, neither is a realistic transfer option for United now. Villa is likely to stay at Valencia for a further season, or move to Barcelona who are desperate to secure his signature, if he can force a transfer. Eto’o, meanwhile, is currently playing Barcelona off against Manchester City in one of the seedier transfers of the summer.
In a transfer saga that mirrors that of Ronaldinho’s from Paris Saint German to Barcelona in 2003, it appears United have been outbid for one of the world’s leading young attacking players. United’s board may have forced Real to pay over £30 million up front, with a further £5 million in payments dependent on clauses, but that will be no consolation to Fergie. This came after the Reds had offered a similar sum, without clauses, on Tuesday. Meanwhile, United was apparently in negotiations with Benzema himself. But it seems the Spanish club stole a march on on David Gill’s negotiation team, with Benzema returning from holiday this week to tell Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas that he wanted a move to Los Meregues.
Ferguson could now switch his attentions to Real Madrid’s unwanted Dutch forward Jan Klaas Huntelaar. Although it seems unlikely that United’s manager will opt for the Madrid outcast, having failed to follow up his reported interest 12 months ago. Elsewhere United are said to be interested in Atlético Madrid’s Sergio Aguero, but a £45 million fee being demanded by his club, plus £150,000 per week net required by the player make the transfer unlikely. The club has also been linked with AS Roma’s underwhelming Mirko Vucinic, who would add very little extra quality to Ferguson’s attacking options.
In keeping with United’s youthful approach to transfer strategy, the club could find an alternative in Wolfsburg’s 23 year-old Bosnian striker Edin Džeko, who has been the subject of intense interest from AC Milan. His club, however, appear reluctant to release him. Or perhaps Fergie could bid for Genoa’s Italian under-21 international Robert Acquafresca, who performed well at the recent European Championships. Newspaper reports have also linked United with Toulouse’s 24 year-old forward André-Pierre Gignac, who outscored Benzema this season in Ligue 1?
In truth though, with Ronaldo and Tevez gone, and his leading striking choice having joined the Madrid revolution, Ferguson’s options have significantly reduced. In the end, the Scot may now opt to place faith in youth, and offer Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda more game time next season while strengthening other areas of the squad. Either way, Ferguson is going to have to replace 41 goals next season if United are to maintain their pre-eminent position in the face of high-spending opponents.
17 thoughts on “Fergie out of options as Benzema joins Real”
‘In the face of high-spending opponents’. Jesus H. Who in the Premier League has spent anywhere near as much as Man Utd over the last decade? Chelsea, no doubt, but you can’t accuse the world’s richest club of not having enough money, surely….!
Well, Liverpool, actually 😉 The point being a recognition that City, Chelsea and Madrid are taking their pick of the best available players this summer. And everyone else will feed off the scraps.
Liverpool… are you kidding me? Their record signing is Torres at around 23 million. Meanwhile, you lot have spent 25-30 on Ferdinand, Rooney, Berbatov, Carrick, Hargreaves – not to mention another 30 for the Nani/Anderson combo.
Welcome to the ‘real’ world.. a world where for the first time in 20 years, you are being outbid by several teams. Where are all of these players whose heart has always been set on playing for mighty Man Yoo??… oh look, for more money, they go elsewhere.
But hey, you snapped up 3 goal Valencia for 17 mill… good one!
Yep, I love a deluded scouser.
Oh, I see…. “over the last decade” (p.s. a decade = 10 years) started in 04/05 did it?
Hmm… I thought I passed my maths O level? Stats can lie about anything if you want them to.
Wow…marcus 1. Alex 0.
Actually Liverpool since 2004 Liverpool has spent £215,490,000 on players, while United only spent £93,300,000. But who cares? It’s trophies to show for it that matters (3 EPL in a row)while Liverpool has none!
Welcome to real world as Liverpool is no longer the best team in England domestically. What do you mean by ‘outbid’ since we didn’t know whether Sir Alex bid on Benzema or not.
Hey , Liverscum has bought an above average defender at best Glen Johnson for £17m!!
I agree with you mate liverpool are crap. Take away torres gerrard and caragher and they are nout. Torres shud have joined united if he wanted to win things and just look at this. Torres was terrible in our first game against liverscum vidic had him in his pocket. The second game was just an off day you don’t see it very often. The man who won us the EPL was macheda. If he hadn’t of scored that great goal and the sort of lucky goal in the next game we wud have lost the prem well done Macheda.
another typical man utd hater. dude.. just dont be jealous of the success they have achieved.. i m bored and tired of replying to the crap u type.. first win a couple of trophies and then open your mouth.
As a United fanatic, I was relieved that United didn’t pay 35 million for Benzema, who is yet unproven in the top leagues, and is certainly not worth that amount of money. I am one who wants British teams to buy British talent more, and I think we have some good British players who should be considered 1st. Ronaldo was only 12 million, and apart from Man City who are obscene in their spending and wages to players, I don’t think the other top 4 will be throwing cash around like confetti. Yet I still believe they will be the top 4 next season – City money or not.
I am a Liverpool supporter and to see the Man yoo supporters having a piss at benzema is ridiculous.
I am sure you [above] would have said exactly the opposit things if man yoo had signed Benzema. but hey its the REAL world. When it comes to choose between the top teams anyone would be willing to go to Madrid for the extra 6 mil.
Now where have those fans gone saying players love to join manchester utd even with less fees?
villa aint leaving spain and if he does next season would be ONLY to join Liverpool[as he said], benzema gone, aguero? more then 45 mil plus 150k a week, i dont think so man yoo will do him. so whoz next now?
Liverpool fans have got to start doing their own research instead of just believing what they’re told.
It is now a well-known ‘fachht’ that Liverpool have outspent Mn Utd in the past 5 seasons.
In that time Fergie bought 13 players – Rafa bought 51.
We might be the ones paying 30 mil for Rooney, Rio and berba, but we choose to buy quality over quantity.
Back on topic.
The Benzema fiasco has really pissed me off.
The normal rules don’t apply to effing Spanish clubs. The banks that loan Madrid money don’t go after them the way all other European banks would, so it’s ok for them to spend 170million Euros and counting in one summer.
As alternative strikers, I would like to offer up Luis Fabiano. His troubles seem to be behind him and he is a more mobile striker than Huntelaar or Dzeko.
The problem though, could be his age. He will turn 29 in November.
Buying British would be nice, but whom could we get?
Sturridge is joining Chelsea and doesn’t have the experience we need in a third striker.
I’m not sure Agbonlahor or Bent are good enough.
So in this scenario, I’ rather take on HUntelaar, Dzeko or Gignac.
Alex you prat, have a look at what Benitez has spent since he started there before you try and pour scorn on what people are telling you. Liverpool and Chelsea have both spent more than us since 2005 it is a fact you numpty now bugger off and post on your own clubs site. Plonker.
And Carrick was 18 million same as Owen Hargeaves not 25-30 so once again they key word is Research. PRAT.
Now now children, play nice. I trust in Ferg to find a solution. It’s a bit of a waiting game… Chelsea, City and Real are going to outbid everyone for now. Then we’ll see. Fergie’s record is without peer, he’ll get it right. Goals just might be an issue next season.
United rule we need to sign aguero and young. This is my team for next year.
VanderSar, Evans, O’shea, Giggs, Park, Owen, Anderson
We need to get rid off Berbatov for aguero + money, Nani for young + money and Kuszczak and Simpson for money. In January we should buy Bojan he is a real talent watch him play and he is young no pun intented.