Lyon braced for Benzema exit

Lyon adviser Bernard Lacombe says the Ligue 1 may sell Karim Benzema to Manchester United this summer.

The 21-year-old, who has netted 43 goals in 112 league outings for the Stade Gerland outfit, has long been linked with a string of European football's big hitters, including United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Their hopes of bagging the French international - who has featured 24 times for his country, scoring six times - during this close-season appeared slim, after the the player's agent, Karim Djaziri, revealed the youngster would - in all likelihood - only be moving on in 12 months time following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

However, club president Jean-Michel Aulas recently admitted Lyon may be forced to sell their prize asset sooner than expected, should they receive an offer that is too good to turn down.   And his words have been backed up by Aulas' advisor Lacombe, who compared Benzema's situation to that of Michael Essien prior to his move from the Stade Gerland to Chelsea for £24.5 million in 2005.

"He is with us, but nobody knows what will happen,” he told Progres.

“We didn’t think Michael Essien would leave at the time, but when Chelsea arrived with the cheque...

“If Manchester, who as we know have plenty of cash available, want to buy Benzema, what can you do?”

United chances of bidding for Benzema have now increased following the news that Argentine striker Carlos Tevez is leaving Old Trafford this summer.

Sir Alex Ferguson was already expected to spend with FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo set to complete his move to Real Madrid after the Premier League champions accepted a world record £80 million offer for the forward. NEWS: Aulas: Benzema may be sold this summer NEWS: Benzema set for switch next year