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. 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.