This morning, Marca produced a list of 16 players that various UK-based sourced had already linked with José Mourninho and Manchester United.
As of Tuesday evening, one more can be added to that list – with a report in the Independent on Tuesday evening alleging that Mourinho has made Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema one of his top targets ahead of the new season.
Though Benzema’s name appears to have come from nowhere in terms of being linked with the Old Trafford club, the report comes from the online newspaper’s chief football correspondent Mark Ogden – a man who established close links with Manchester United during his time with the Telegraph.
Dismissing the rumour entirely would therefore be a tad premature.
With Zlatan Ibrahimović looking ever more likely to follow Mourinho to Old Trafford, the report suggests that the new Man United manager wants Benzema to partner the Swedish international in attack, with captain Wayne Rooney likely to continue in a midfield role for the new-look team.
Where that would leave Marcus Rashford, however, is anyone’s guess – though it does suggest that last year’s top scorer Anthony Martial is destined to continue playing on the wing.
Benzema (like Zlatan) has previously played under Mourinho – scoring 80 goals in 150 games during the latter’s eventful time as manager of Real Madrid – therefore he will know what is expected of him if he does to join Mourinho’s Manchester United revolution.
Though it remains a rumour for the time being, Manchester United fans have already been getting excited on social media about the prospect of the 28 year old joining the club…
Benzema at United and I would be complete
— ‘ (@VintageYanited) May 24, 2016
Mark Odgen says Benzema is one of Mourinho’s prime targets at United. What I’d do to have him at here, man. He’d be an amazing signing.
— NM (@ffsRooney) May 24, 2016
If Mourinho want Benzema then Mourinho will get Benzema. Simples. …
— KHOISAN (@denvermintoor) May 24, 2016
That being said, prising the French intrnational away from the Bernabéu will not be easy. He has frequently turned down advances from the Premier League in the past (as Arsenal know all too well) and even turned Man United down once before when he opted to join Real for €35m in 2009.
He has a contract offer from the Champions League finalists on the table, one that would tie him to the Spanish side until 2020, but Mourinho will be hoping to be reunited with two familiar strikers as he plans his pursuit of a what would be a fourth Premier League title for the former Chelsea boss.