Real Madrid's reported interest in Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has reignited transfer rumours surrounding Karim Benzema, with Serie A giants Juventus and Inter Milan the latest clubs linked to the Frenchman.
According to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato.com), the Bianconeri and Nerazzurri are joined by Bayern Munich and Arsenal, with all clubs keeping an eye on the situation. Juventus could be on the lookout for a new striker if Los Blancos decide to bring Alvaro Morata back to the Spanish capital.
The report claims Benzema's value could drop significantly due to the ongoing controversy involving Lyon star Mathieu Valbuena, per Le Parisien (h/t Reuters, for the Daily Mail).
On the pitch, Benzema is enjoying another stellar season for Real, scoring a remarkable 20 goals in 21 La Liga appearances so far, per WhoScored.com. Here's a look at some of his highlights:
The 28-year-old has been Real's top option at the striker position for years, developing fantastic chemistry with Cristiano Ronaldo. The two combine exceptionally well in the attacking third, as Benzema loves to drop off and create chances for his team-mates and Ronaldo is remarkably gifted at drifting inside to take advantage.
But despite his strong form and consistent showings, rumours persist. Los Blancos continue to be linked with Lewandowski, whose scoring form has been even better than Benzema's, per the UEFA Champions League's official Twitter account:
Champions League @ChampionsLeague
A career best 25th league goal of the season from Robert Lewandowski has earned Bayern a 1-0 win at Köln. https://t.co/DPX9NU70k02016-3-19 16:32:26
The Poland international has spent the bulk of his career in Germany and ranks among Bayern's most important players, but Los Blancos present an interesting transfer destination for even the biggest stars.
The Bavarians will do what they can to keep hold of their ace striker, but once Real come calling, they usually get what they want.
And then there's Morata. The Spain international hasn't enjoyed the greatest season for Juventus, but he continues to impress in the big matches, and he recently flashed all of his talent in the epic Champions League tie with Bayern.
The contract of the 23-year-old contains a buy-back clause, and he recently confirmed he's growing frustrated with not knowing where his future lies, per Cadena Cope (h/t Football Italia):
Speaking about next year is difficult for me, because I don’t have the certainty of knowing where I will be and this is a strange situation.
I can’t wait for the question of the re-purchase to be resolved. I’m happy in Turin, but I want to be able to know where I should buy a house. I want to know as soon as possible where I’ll be.
I’m happy at Juventus, but returning to Madrid is a real possibility because there’s a contract, it was all already written. I just want all of this to be resolved.
AS' Sergio Gomez claims Real will use their clause to bring him back to the Santiago Bernabeu and immediately sell him on for a profit, but Morata is highly unlikely to agree to such a move.
If Real do decide to bring him back, it would add yet another body to their strike force―and force Juventus into diving into the transfer market themselves. The Bianconeri have a number of options up front, including Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Simone Zaza, but they'd love to add someone of Benzema's calibre.
Bayern might opt to replace Lewandowski with Benzema if they can't keep hold of Lewandowski, while Arsenal need a clear upgrade at the position and are expected to spend during the summer transfer window.
In all likelihood, Benzema's future will depend on Lewandowski. The Frenchman is unlikely to stay in Madrid if it means he'd have a backup role to the former Borussia Dortmund star, and there should be enough interest in his services for Real to net a hefty transfer fee in a sale.