Premier League clubs have been put on high alert after news surfaced that Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema could be available in the summer.
Benzema has failed to secure a first-team spot since his move to the Spanish capital in 2009 after struggling for form at the Bernabeu.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been a well-documented admirer of the 23-year-old, but was priced out of a move for the player prior to his move to Real.
The arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor has cast the Frenchman’s first team place into doubt, but two goals in his last three matches has propelled the striker back into Joe Mourinho’s first team plans.
Benzema’s representative, Karim Djaziri, dismissed reports that his client will be departing Madrid in January but conceded a summer move is a possibilty.
Djaziri told sport.co.uk “Karim Benzema will not be leaving Madrid and is not looking to move in the January transfer window.
“In the summer we will see. But for now he is not seeing a move."
Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has heaped praise on Benzema, however, insisting the striker is very much a part of plans at the Bernabeu.
"We've supported Karim from the very beginning," he said to the club's official website.
"The hug the coach [Jose Mourinho] gave him after the goal is very significant. Benzema feels everyone's support and he is an important player on this team."
Speculation looks set to heat up over the coming months, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United likely to monitor the situation.
By Ben McAleercomments