Former Manchester United star Paul Ince says a deal for Karim Benzema would ‘lift the whole club’ and simultaneously ease the load on young striker Rasmus Hojlund.
Benzema, 36, is actively seeking an escape route out of Saudi Arabia this month, despite putting pen to paper on a lucrative three-year deal with Al-Ittihad last summer.
Arsenal, Chelsea, PSG, Lyon and United have all been credited with an interest in Benzema, but the veteran Frenchman’s wage demands are proving a significant hurdle, with just a week remaining of the January transfer window.
Benzema is being mooted as a possible short-term solution up front at Old Trafford, given Hojlund has managed just two Premier League goals since arriving in the north-west from Atalanta for a fee of around £72million last summer.
The Red Devils have gone down a similar route in recent years, with ageing forwards Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao all welcomed through the doors at the Theatre of Dreams with varying degrees of success.
But discussing the speculation for instantcasino.com, ex-United midfielder Ince had no doubt that pursuing a deal for Benzema – the second-highest goalscorer in Real Madrid’s history – was a no-brainer given his ‘world-class’ pedigree.
‘If Manchester United can get Karim Benzema, then you’re taking him all day long. Signing Benzema would lift the whole club, including the fans,’ Ince said.
‘I don’t care if he’s 36, he’s a world-class player. It would be great if the club could get him.
‘It would take a lot of pressure off Hojlund and it could lift them into those top four places.
‘He’s an out-and-out goalscorer – if he does leave the Saudi Pro League then there will be a few teams trying to sign him, that’s for sure.’
Ince feels a young player like Hojlund would greatly benefit by ‘learning from one of the best’ in Benzema should the five-time Champions League winner join him at United for the second half of the season.
‘If Manchester United were to move for Benzema, it also takes the pressure off Rasmus Hojlund to a certain degree, who is still a young striker who would prefer to have a senior player to look up to,’ he added.
‘The pressure wouldn’t be on him to score every time he plays, and he can spend his time in training learning from one of the best.
‘It would be a great bit of business for United if they could sign him, it really would.’
While United continue to scour the market for reinforcements in attack, it’s understood Erik ten Hag and football director, John Murtough, will prioritise revamping the club’s defence in the summer.
The Red Devils are open to offers for former captain Harry Maguire, despite the England international’s return to form in recent months, while there remains uncertainty over the future of Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Jonny Evans.
Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt have all been placed on United’s shortlist as possible long-term options at centre-back.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.