Papers: Karim deal closer
United close in on Benzema
Sir Alex Ferguson took another step towards the £30m capture of striker Karim Benzema yesterday. But Manchester United could yet face fierce competition from bitter transfer market rivals Real Madrid. Fallen French champions Lyon opened the door to the sale of prize asset Benzema by making a £15m move for Porto striker Lisandro Lopez. It is a clear indication that Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is preparing to cash in on his 21-year-old star. Lyon were knocked back in a bid for Paris Saint-Germain’s Guillaume Hoarau. But their rapid response was a move for Portugal ace Lopez. That is good news for United boss Ferguson, who is aware Benzema is in no hurry to leave Lyon until after the World Cup next summer. The Old Trafford chief’s main problem could be big-spending Spanish giants Real, who have taken £80m Cristiano Ronaldo from United and also want Wigan winger Antonio Valencia. Real are now likely to target Benzema, leaving United to hope that the Galactico policy at the Bernabeu will persuade the young Frenchman his prospects will be better at Old Trafford.Bill Thornton, Daily Star
The Daily Mirror says Sir Alex Ferguson will quickly slap in a £40million bid for Spain's David Villa, after Barcelona opened the bidding for the Valencia star. However, the article does include Villa's assertion that: "Next season I will play in Spain because it is the league that is best for me." The same paper speculates that Nani could be used as a makeweight in a deal for Wigan's Antonio Valencia.
The transfer tittle-tattle keeps coming. United will have to fork out £25million - without an initial three-week trial - for Gremio starlet Douglas Costa, according to The Daily Mail.
Tomasz Kuszczak may be following Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez out of Old Trafford, with The Sun tipping Zenit St Petersburg to make a £2million move for the Polish goalkeeper.