Real steal march on Arsenal and United in Benzema war

THE TRANSFER battle for Arsenal and Manchester United target Karim Benzema has intensified after Real Madrid opened the bidding with a &pound;27m offer.<br /><br />The Lyon and France striker, 21, is a long-standing target of United&rsquo;s while the Gunners emerged as rivals for his signature at the weekend. But free-spending Real have stolen a march on the Premier League pair by lodging an offer for the player, who looks set to leave France this summer.<br /><br />Lyon have not yet responded to the bid but Bernard Lacombe, adviser to the club&rsquo;s president Jean-Michel Aulas, admitted Benzema was for sale. &ldquo;Nothing is impossible,&rdquo; said Lacombe. &ldquo;If we receive a good offer we will not close the door to anyone.&rdquo;<br /><br />Benzema&rsquo;s agent said last week that the player would prefer to stay in France for another season as he looks to cement his place in the international side ahead of next summer&rsquo;s World Cup. But he added that a firm offer might make the Lyon youth&nbsp; team graduate reconsider.<br /><br />Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is said to be optimistic he can tempt Benzema to his heavily French-influenced team, despite their recent lack of success. But a move is likely to depend on offloading Emmanuel Adebayor, who is among AC Milan&rsquo;s summer targets.<br /><br />Even with funds from the sale of striker Adebayor, the Gunners will struggle to match the financial might of Real and United. <br /><br />The Spanish club have embarked on a frenzy of spending this summer, with around &pound;140m already lavished on Brazil playmaker Kaka and United winger Ronaldo, while United have &pound;80m from that sale at their disposal.<br /><br />Real president Florentino Perez met Benzema&rsquo;s agent last week and is thought ready to offer forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or winger Arjen Robben in part-exchange.