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Man Utd ‘enquire about Karim Benzema’ but set to see blockbuster transfer blocked | Football | Sport

Manchester United have reportedly enquired about signing Karim Benzema from Al-Ittihad as they try to solve Erik ten Hag’s striker shortage. However, the Red Devils are likely to see their attempts to sign the Real Madrid icon blocked by the Saudi football authorities.

United have struggled for goals this season and have reportedly targeted signing a new No. 9 to compete with young forward Rasmus Hojlund. Summer purchase Hojlund has split opinion during his first campaign at Old Trafford, scoring only two of his eight goals in the Premier League.

An experienced and prolific striker to help Hojlund hone his trade would be the ideal signing before the transfer window slams shut on Thursday. United reportedly hope that Benzema, 36, could be that man.

The Frenchman has struggled to settle in at Al-Ittihad and was reportedly banished from the first-team prior to a mid-season training camp in Dubai. The player is claimed to have missed a series of club events.

According to L’Equipe, Premier League side United have made an enquiry about bringing Benzema to England. Chelsea, whose forwards have struggled for goals this season, have also reportedly asked about the veteran’s availability.

However, it is claimed that the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – which has a majority stake in Al-Ittihad and three other Pro League clubs – will block Benzema’s departure from the Pro League. Officials reportedly fear that an exit from Saudi football so soon after his arrival could potentially be damaging for the league’s growing reputation.

The report adds that talks are underway with a ‘Riyadh-based club’, prompting speculation that Benzema could join former Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo at Al-Nassr. A move to another Pro League club would please PIF.

It leaves United unlikely to sign Benzema in the final 48 hours of the transfer window. Ten Hag might need to turn his attention elsewhere if he wants to sign a new striker.

Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney – both linked with January moves – seem set to remain at Napoli and Brentford, respectively. United will need to get more goals out of Hojlund if they are to make a late push for Champions League qualification.

Ten Hag’s side are 11 points off fourth-placed Aston Villa. February could be a crunch month for the Red Devils, with them set to face Villa on the 11th. They also face tough tests away to Wolves and at home against West Ham and Fulham.

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