Benitez reveals big plans for Benzema

Despite recent links with Arsenal, Rafael Benitez has big plans for Karim Benzema at Real Madrid this season.

Rafael Benitez wants striker Karim Benzema to weigh in with at least 25 goals this season, suggesting the Frenchman remains firmly in his plans at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Benzema has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League side Arsenal in recent weeks - speculation swiftly denied by the club's respective managers Benitez and Arsene Wenger.

Benzema scored 22 times in all competitions last term but Benitez feels the 27-year-old can contribute more during his debut season at the club.

When asked if he was keen to bring in a striker with a different style, Benitez told El Pais: "Having alternatives in any position always helps.

"For example, the middle of the park - you have a midfielder who is better with containing and another with passing.

"Depending on the match, you can take advantage of one or the other. In the case of the striker, it's the same.

"Benzema is a great player and one of my ideas this year is that he exceeds the barrier of 20-25 goals. In that, I have a lot of confidence.

"I have a lot of faith in him, and Benzema has the ability to compete with any other striker."

Inter boss Roberto Mancini has confirmed midfielder Mateo Kovacic is set to join Real and Benitez remains open to further additions.

"Until August 31, the market is open and there may be movements, but I only speak of the squad that I have," he added.

"To improve our team is not easy, there are not many players better than the ones that we have and [that are] available on the market."