Transfer Bin: Real Madrid to sell their key No. 9

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has established himself as a top-class striker under Carlo Ancelotti, and it is unlikely that Real Madrid will sell him.

Karim Benzema has not always performed as expected at Real Madrid since his move from Lyon for €35 million (plus add-ons) back in 2009, but this season he has recaptured his best form.

17 goals in 31 La Liga starts combined with five in nine Champions League appearances make for a great reading, and when one considers that he has provided eight assists in the league and five in Europe, it makes it greater.

And it’s not just the goals, it’s the way the France international has settled into Carlo Ancelotti’s system. Having struggled to gain regular playing time under Jose Mourinho in what proved to be a disappointing 2012-13 season, this term Benzema has come alive and has looked fitter, more agile and better. His talent has never been in doubt, but his work rate and effort have always been under scrutiny.

Playing as the centre-forward in a team comprising of Cristiano Ronaldo on one flank and Gareth Bale or Angel di Maria on the other, Benzema has looked more aggressive, enthusiastic and ‘up for it’. Often criticised in the Spanish media as someone who simply doesn’t do much running, the 26-year-old brings others into play with his intelligence and makes space for them (Ronaldo galloping down the left wing and then cutting inside owes to Benzema’s off-the-ball movement to some degree).

Which is why a report in the Daily Mail claiming that “Real Madrid will listen to offers for Karim Benzema this summer” should be taken with a pinch of salt. The argument in that report runs along the lines that the Spanish giants are looking for an upgrade on their No. 9 and will target Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez, two world-class strikers who are (arguably) better than Benzema.

Madrid’s financial muscle is stronger than most clubs and the respect they have among players (especially those from South America) is massive. With Madrid, it is hard to resist them, and Aguero and Suarez would be no exceptions. But Manchester City will not sell Aguero for cheap and Liverpool won’t either, especially if they win the league. Given UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, Madrid would not like to sell a player considered important by their coach and then spend millions on a replacement, who may or may not take off.

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