Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has reportedly agreed to join AC Milan.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Italia, the Frenchman’s representatives spoke with Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso and sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli about the switch on Monday.
Gattuso is said to have held discussions with the player already about a possible switch to the San Siro.
Milan are said to be willing to pay the 30-year-old’s annual salary of €9 million (£8 million) and offer him a contract up until 2022.
In the Di Marzio report, it’s also noted that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will not stand in the way of Benzema should he decide to move on this summer. That’s despite the fact Real have already lost a key attacker already in this window, with Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Juventus.
However, as relayed by Get French Football News, Benzema’s agent appears to have dismissed the speculation.
The striker has been at Madrid for nine years and has been a crucial part of one of the most dominant eras in the club’s history. Los Blancos have won the UEFA Champions League in four of the last five seasons, including the last three in succession.
Although there have been times recently when Benzema has been maligned by Madridistas, he was a regular under former manager Zinedine Zidane and netted the crucial opener in the 2018 Champions League final against Liverpool, with Los Blancos going on to win 3-1.
Benzema has been a regular goalscorer for the capital club on the big stage.
Perhaps more important than that is the fact he was an excellent foil for Ronaldo during their time together in Madrid.
Having joined in the same summer, the pair forged a brilliant understanding, and although it was often Ronaldo who grabbed the headlines by hammering in the goals, Benzema was important to the partnership flourishing.
Benzema is excellent at holding up the ball and bringing team-mates into the game. In addition, his movement pulls defenders into difficult positions, which allowed the likes of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to capitalise with their surges into the area.
That’s provided he stays, of course. While there is no doubt Benzema is still a useful forward to have around, there were indications last season that he is no longer as dynamic as he once was, and Madrid may view this summer as an ideal time to cash in on the forward.
Milan had issues up top last season, with neither Nikola Kalinic nor Andre Silva thriving at the point of the attack. For a side that has ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League next season, someone of Benzema’s pedigree leading the line may represent a vital acquisition.