Real gazump United move for Benzema

REAL MADRID were last night poised to hijack Manchester United&rsquo;s move for Karim Benzema after having a &euro;35m bid for the striker accepted by Lyon.<br /><br />Highly-rated Benzema was top of Sir Alex Ferguson&rsquo;s summer wish-list in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo&rsquo;s &pound;80m move to Real, which was finally completed last night.<br /><br />But now the France international is set to join Ronaldo at the Bernabeu, taking Real&rsquo;s spending spree to beyond the &euro;200m mark since new president Florentino Perez was installed last month. A fee of &euro;35m (&pound;29.7m) was agreed for the 21-year-old, but it could yet rise to &euro;41m (&pound;34.8m) dependent on performance clauses.<br /><br />The deal represents a massive blow to Ferguson, who was hoping to link Benzema with new signing Antonio Valencia in filling the boots of Ronaldo and Manchester City-bound Carlos Tevez.<br /><br />A statement on Madrid&rsquo;s official website said last night: &ldquo;Real Madrid C.F. and Olympique Lyonnais have reached an agreement for the transfer of Karim Benzema, contingent upon the player&rsquo;s medical examination and the signing of his contracts.<br /><br />&ldquo;The 21-year-old striker will sign a six-year contract with Real Madrid.&rdquo;<br /><br />Benzema burst onto the scene in Ligue 1 during the 2007-08 season when he smashed 31 goals in 51 games, earning him the Player of the Year award. He then followed that up with 23 goals last season, although Lyon failed to win the league title for the first time in eight years.<br /><br />A statement on the club&rsquo;s website read: &ldquo;A few days ago Karim Benzema informed the club president Jean Michel Aulas of his desire to move to the Madrid club, which had always been his favourite club after Lyon, earlier than he had foreseen.<br /><br />&ldquo;Lyon accepted Karim Benzema&rsquo;s decision and negotiated the conditions of a transfer which satisfies all the different parties.&rdquo;