Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand reacts to Karim Benzema transfer speculation | Football

Karim Benzema is being linked with Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Rio Ferdinand believes Rasmus Hojlund would greatly benefit from the addition of a player of Karim Benzema’s calibre but doubts Manchester United can afford to sign the veteran Frenchman this January.

Reports emanating from Spain indicate Benzema is actively looking to return to European football just months after leaving Real Madrid to put pen to paper on a lucrative three-year deal with Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad.

The legendary 36-year-old striker failed to report for Al-Ittihad’s pre-season preparations – as his team-mates travelled to Dubai in his absence – and the situation has put the likes of United and Chelsea on alert.

United head coach Erik ten Hag is keen to bring in support up front for Hojlund, 20, who scored only his second Premier League goal in the side’s 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham at the weekend, and Benzema is being mooted as a possible solution up front.

The Red Devils have made a habit of signing ageing, high-profile forwards in recent years, with the likes Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all coming through the doors at Old Trafford with varying degrees of success.

Addressing the speculation linking Benzema with United on the Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: ‘That’s just going back to old, what we’ve been doing before.

‘We’ve done it with Cristiano, we’ve done it with Falcao, we’ve done it with Cavani, we’ve done it with Zlatan…

‘Listen, Benzema… how can you say no? How can you say no to that signing?’

Karim Benzema looks on

The legendary ex-Real Madrid striker is looking to return to Europe (Picture: Getty)

Though Ferdinand is sceptical United would be willing to satisfy Benzema’s wage demands, he underlined the impact such a signing could have on a young attacker still learning the game like Hojlund.

Asked whether United would be able to afford Benzema, the ex-England defender replied: ‘Probably not, that’s what I mean.

‘That’s why I don’t see it. I’d be very surprised.

‘One thing I would say, one person who needs that more than anyone else around right now Rasmus Hojlund.’

Hojlund has managed just two goals in the league this term (Picture: Getty)

Ferdinand added: ‘Hojlund needs that somebody to look and learn from. I remember when we had Danny Welbeck coming into the first-team and he’s looking up to Cristiano, [Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez and those guys.

‘Diego Forlan comes in, a young Uruguayan striker, and you’ve got Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ruud van Nistelrooy he’s backing up.

‘Chicharito, the same thing, they’re looking on and going: “That’s what a real striker is! That is how a true No.9 operates and I’m going to follow that”.

‘Hojlund is looking at himself in the mirror! That’s it.’

Ferdinand feels Hojlund would benefit from the addition of Benzema (Picture: Getty)

This month, Jadon Sancho and Donny van de Beek have left United on loan to join Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively, while Hannibal Mejbri is on the cusp of a temporary switch to Sevilla.

Speaking to the media ahead of United’s draw with Spurs, Ten Hag refused to rule out the possibility of new recruits arriving before the January transfer window slams shut.

‘You always have to consider such choices,’ Ten Hag told reporters.

‘Two very good loans, [Marcel] Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst really contributed to our success last year.‌

‘When such opportunities come up, we have to take them. At the same time, you have to analyse what we have on board, what is coming up.’

The United head coach added: ‘If you want to perform, you need hungry players.

‘We need personalities and players who are very hungry to fight for the badge and this club.

‘It is not about discipline, it is about normal behaviour. It is about what you can expect from a top professional.’

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