This will be a short one, and I can’t help but point out the overwhelming twisting of quotes to fit headlines.
First of all there is a quote from Bernard Lacombe, the advisor to Lyon’s president, who talked about clubs being flush with cash. And that it would be difficult to resist a big bid if it came: “If United want to buy Karim then what can you do?”
Which is a question. It’s an indication that Lyon may be willing to sell. But at what price? £25million? Really?
I wouldn’t bet on it.
Ferguson has been a big fan of Karim Benzema, which is well documented. But he’s also fully aware of who he’s dealing with, when it comes to talking business. He made an observation way back in early 2008 — before our Champions’ League fixture against Lyon — about Jean Michael Aulas, which is very valid to date:
“The president is a very clever man. He’s so clever he can sell midfield players for £20m. That’s amazing,” Ferguson said, referring to the hard bargain Aulas drove when Real Madrid bought Mahamadou Diarra in 2006. “That [Jeremy] Toulalan he bought from Nantes just sits and does the same job Diarra did. When they sold Michael Essien [to Chelsea, for £24.4m], they took Tiago then sold Tiago to Juventus for £6m. Eric Abidal, £10m for a left back [when he moved to Barcelona]. They’re a well-run club.
Well run club indeed. We are really talking a French Daniel Levy here, who knows how to get the deal he wants. So I remain sceptical about a deal being done quickly on the Frenchman. I hope I’m wrong, but when he can sell the likes of Essien and Diarra for about £24m, I don’t think we’ll get this lad for the quoted £25m.
Of course, the actual gist of Lacombe’s statement wouldn’t deter papers from splashing stuff like “United close in on Benzema” (Manchester Evening News) and the extremely enticing, ‘authentic’ looking “Benzema heading to United — report” (Setanta Sports); actual juice in that article is really the first line that says he’s at the top of United’s list, attributed to the dreaded “unnamed source” — by that logic all clubs should just create a list of coveted players, throw in some magic beans, and the players would appear out of nowhere.
If you’re still interested in his quoted market value, The Daily Mail reckons £35m, the Mirror £30m while some others say £25m. Take your pick. Although if you were to go by Sky Sports — rather, his agent — he’s going nowhere, and intends to stay put. But then, that’s boring to hear, no?
Well, that’s all I have to say on this. Will be back tomorrow for more. Unless this mysterious Sheik-over (excuse the pun; couldn’t resist it.) involves our club.