Karim Benzema 'set for crunch talks over his future with Al-Ittihad' following links to Man United and Chelsea in the January window

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  • Karim Benzema is set for talks with Al-Ittihad over his future in Saudi Arabia
  • He was linked to Man United and Chelsea during the January transfer window 
  • Rasmus Hojlund has no help up front! Even at Man United it's a hard sell to get someone in to help him - Listen to the It's All Kicking Off Transfer Week podcast 

Karim Benzema is set for crunch talks with Al-Ittihad over his future in Saudi Arabia following rumours of an exit in January.

The 36-year-old former Real Madrid striker was linked to Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea during the window, but will remain with Al-Ittihad until at least the end of the season following the closure of the Saudi transfer window.

A rumoured move to Lyon in his native France also fell through, but Benzema is still thought to feel unsettled in the Middle East after his move last summer. 

Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports

that Benzema is engaged in discussions with Al-Ittihad this week about clarifying future plans. 

Jacobs wrote: 'Both Ittihad and wider Saudi dealmakers want him to do another season. There was never a green light (or formal request from Benzema) to leave. 

Frenchman Karim Benzema is set for crunch talks with Al-Ittihad over his future in Saudi Arabia

Frenchman Karim Benzema is set for crunch talks with Al-Ittihad over his future in Saudi Arabia

Frenchman Karim Benzema is set for crunch talks with Al-Ittihad over his future in Saudi Arabia

Manchester United sought a back-up striker after Anthony Martial was ruled out for 10 weeks

Manchester United sought a back-up striker after Anthony Martial was ruled out for 10 weeks

'Lyon had explored bringing Benzema back but it was impossible without a massive wage cut. Ittihad sources also insist any bid would have been rejected had it arrived. No concrete EPL offers made to the Saudi champions.'

Benzema is currently contracted to Al-Ittihad until 2026 after signing a three-year deal as a free agent last summer, and has scored 12 goals in 20 games for his new club. 

However, it has not stopped last year's champions from falling 25 points off the current league leaders after just 18 games, with the Saudi Pro League currently paused due to the Asian Cup.

While no concrete offers were made by any English or French clubs, Al-Ittihad continue to claim that they would have rejected any potential bids made by other clubs. 

Benzema's decision to stay in Saudi Arabia was a blow for Manchester United, who sought a back-up striker after Anthony Martial was ruled out for 10 weeks following surgery on a groin problem. 

Chelsea were also linked with a reported move for Benzema during the transfer window

Chelsea were also linked with a reported move for Benzema during the transfer window

Lyon explored bringing Benzema back to France, but the deal required a massive wage cut

Lyon explored bringing Benzema back to France, but the deal required a massive wage cut

The Red Devils eventually objected to a proposal, believing that it was difficult to justify amidst a crackdown on FFP rules.  

Chelsea and Arsenal were other Premier League clubs who were also linked to Benzema during the January transfer window, although no deals materialised. 

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