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Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United target Karim Benzema reportedly knows of the shortlist of forwards that Real Madrid have drawn up to replace him this summer.
The France international has told club president Florentino Perez that he will only leave to join another European heavyweight who can pay him the same wages he is on at Madrid – thought to be around £150,000-a-week.
But Diario Gol say that decision-maker Perez has long made up his mind about Benzema’s future and has already advertised his availability months in advance of the window.
Despite Benzema’s insistence that he will only join another top team and will stay in the capital otherwise, the Spanish publication suggest that the 30-year-old knows his time at the Santiago Bernabeu is over.
The long-serving striker is even thought to know who will take over the No 9 shirt for Los Blancos – and surprisingly it is not Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
While Diario Gol say Kane is still very much a Real Madrid target this summer as the Spanish giants look to re-shape their front-line, the England international is thought to be waiting for the No 10 shirt he wears for Spurs.
And that’s because midfielder Luka Modric, who currently occupies the number, is said to be considering a summer exit – with Kane telling Perez to reserve the number if the Croatian does indeed leave.
The three attackers drawn up to succeed Benzema as the club’s No 9 are thought to be Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard, Inter Milan captain Mauro Icardi and Juventus wonderkid Paulo Dybala.
Of the three, Hazard is Real and Zinedine Zidane’s first choice with the club reportedly having already begun negotiations with the Belgian’s representatives.
And Diario Gol even say that Hazard’s team have put off extending his contract at Stamford Bridge to wait for the offer that comes in from Real Madrid.
Links to Icardi have meanwhile cooled with Cristiano Ronaldo’s insistence that the Argentine does not join the club thought to be one of several reasons why, with Hazard also preferred over Dybala
Benzema has scored 188 goals in 396 appearances for Madrid since joining from Lyon in 2009 but has just eight goals in 31 matches this term, managing only four in 21 in La Liga.
He has attracted heavy criticism for his lack of goals with Zidane’s side languishing 15 points behind league leaders Barcelona and eight behind local rivals Atletico Madrid in second.
And as such, Perez is preparing a handful of game-changing summer transfers – including Kane and Hazard – to transform the club’s fortunes.
Real Madrid have not made a mega-money transfer move since their £63 million splash on James Rodriguez in July 2014, with both Kane and Hazard likely to cost them at least double that fee.