Karim Benzema had offers from both Real Madrid and Manchester United in 2009, but eventually chose the former, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed.
As relayed by French newspaper Le 10 Sport, initially said on television station Canal +, Aulas has confirmed that his former star striker was highly-sought after prior to his move to Spain, and admitted that United did indeed make a move.
When Benzema shot to stardom with his performances for Lyon there was plenty of speculation that he could make a move to the Premier League, with the then-Sir Alex Ferguson managed United registered amongst his biggest suitors.
Ultimately it was Madrid who were the most attractive proposition, but, as Aulas says, it was not a completely one-sided affair.
“For a long time he wanted to play one day at Real Madrid, and when operations began to fall into place, we did not object. The proposal was superior to Manchester United, but he was given the opportunity to go where he wanted,” the Lyon chief said.
Benzema at Madrid
It would appear then that the destination he most craved was the Santiago Bernabeu, with the chance to become a Galactico seemingly too tantalising to pass up. The France international was purchased in the same summer which saw the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka transfer to Spain, and has now become the focal point of Madrid’s attack.
Despite experiencing the tumultuous ups and downs which inevitably come as a result of being involved in a setup spearheaded by money-bags Florentino Perez, Benzema has managed to survive amongst the cut-throat backdrop of Los Blancos, and earlier this year penned an extension which could feasibly tie him to the club for another five years.
United in comparison
It could have all been so different had the 26-year-old made the move to Old Trafford instead however, where at the time his talents were wanted to complement an in-form Wayne Rooney. With it already being considered confirmed that Ronaldo would be moving to Madrid, Ferguson wanted to draft in a renowned attacking talent to fill the void left by his departure.
Instead Antonio Valencia, formerly of Wigan Athletic, was recruited for the areas out-wide, whilst free-agent Michael Owen was drafted in to bolster the options up top. It could be argued that neither man has offered - or did offer in Owen’s case - the goals that Benzema promised, but there remains doubts over his ability to find the net consistently; a flaw Madrid fans have become famous for expressing through jeers and boos.
Manchester United fans, would you go back and have Benzema join the club if possible? Or do you think the Red Devils dodged a bullet by not signing him? Let us know in the comments box below.