Villa in shock link to Real Madrid superstar

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Gerard Houiller is planning a sensational bid to bring Real Madrid star Karim Benzema to Aston Villa on loan in January.

Aston Villa boss Houllier was the France international's manager when he was at Lyon, and he still maintains a good relationship with the struggling striker.

Benzema is finding first-team opportunities hard to come by at the Bernabeu, as he has to contend with players like Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital.

It has been widely reported in Spain this week that Jose Mourinho is ready to let Benzema leave on a temporary basis to rediscover the form that made Los Blanco's stump up £35 million for him.

Benzema almost joined Manchester United three seasons ago, but decided to turn them down in favour of a move to Real Madrid. It is believed that the Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson is still a keen admirer or the former Lyon man. This means they are likely to rival Aston Villa for his services, should he become available on loan.

It is not known if Benzema would be prepared to move to the Midlands club, but the player's agent, Karim Diaziri, has been quoted as saying there is 'no chance' that he will leave Real Madrid on a permanent deal - despite reports of interest from clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus.

But a short-term deal could be on the cards and would allow Benzema the chance to gain some much needed confidence after failing to adjust to life in Spain since the move from his native France. A loan deal would be ideal for Aston Villa - as they know they could not afford to sign a player of that quality on a permanent basis.

Diaziri added: "There are still some months to go before the January transfer window, but Karim wants to play for Madrid,"

"He has been linked with Inter Milan and Juventus but there is no chance he will leave Madrid. He has five years to run on his deal."

Benzema's reluctance to leave Madrid will be tested if he continues to warm the bench, and Houllier is ready to offer him the chance to play regular football. Aston Villa are in desperate need of firepower as injuries to Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and John Carew have meant that youngster Nathan Delfouneso has been their only fit striker.

Benzema would no doubt prove the biggest signing in Aston Villa's history and will prove a big hit with their fans, but with the potential move now made public by the media, the European titans - notably Manchester United - will likely enter the fold. 

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