What Karim Benzema has said about re-joining Lyon amid return rumours | Football


A deal for the Frenchman to return to his boyhood club will be complicated (Picture: Getty)

Lyon have made a sensational move to sign former player Karim Benzema, with the Frenchman having previously said he would be open to finishing his career back at his boyhood club.

The 36-year-old is believed to be unhappy at Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, who are only seventh in the table and 25 points off top spot, while his decision to return to training 17 days late has not impressed the club.

His potential availability is thought to have caught the attention of a number of clubs, even Premier League sides, with both Chelsea and Arsenal linked with moves.

But it appears a sentimental return to Lyon may be Benzema’s preference, with RMC Sport reporting that the struggling Ligue 1 side have begun working on an audacious deal to bring their former player back to the Groupama Stadium.

Lyon are currently in 16th place in the table and are battling relegation, with the club eager to bring in a marquee signing to galvanise the team.

Five-time Champions League winner Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2022, would certainly do that, though a deal is considered very tricky – particularly with only nine days left before the transfer window closes.

Benzema is thought to be earning as much as £200million per season in Saudi Arabia and he would need to take an enormous wage cut in order for Lyon to be able to afford him.

What Karim Benzema has said about re-joining Lyon

Benzema made his name at Lyon before joining Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

But there does seem to be a number of disgruntled noises coming from the players who have moved to Saudi recently, while Jordan Henderson ultimately forfeited his bumper payday in order to return to Europe with Dutch giants Ajax.

John Textor’s Eagle Football, who own Lyon, are believed to have good relations with the Saudi Pro League which could smooth any talks – though any deal remains a long shot.

Benzema is thought to be open to returning to his former team, though, and has spoken in the past about a desire to end his career at the club where he first made his name.

Asked about a possible return to Lyon back in 2021, when he was still at Real Madrid, Benzema said: ‘I’m currently what I am thanks to Lyon.

‘With respect to coming back, not at the moment, I want to keep on making history at Real Madrid, which is the best team in the world.

‘After that you never know. End my career at Lyon? Why not?’

Benzema broke into the Lyon first team as a teenager in 2004, spending four full seasons in the side – and netting 37 Ligue 1 goals in his last two seasons – before moving to Real Madrid in 2009 in a £30million deal, which now looks like a bargain.

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