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(UK time) 02:59:50

Premier League

12 June 2012

Manchester City set to step up interest in Real Madrid strike ace

French star Karim Benzema could be primed for a move to the Premier League champions

Manchester City set to step up interest in Real Madrid strike ace

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With the futures of Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli uncertain at Manchester City, Roberto Mancini is in the hunt for a new striker, with French hitman Karim Benzema his preferred target.

Benzema, who will lead France’s attack against England at Euro 2012, enjoyed his best season to date last term, as he netted 32 times en route to Real Madrid’s La Liga triumph.

He has expressed his happiness at the Bernabeu since becoming a regular fixture in Jose Mourinho’s side, but could be tempted by the astronomical wages on offer at Eastlands.

Repeated interest from Manchester United over the last few years failed to lead to a move materialising, and their city rivals could now be set to step in, with the player’s agent lending weight to claims that a move may occur.

Jonathan Hope, Benzema’s representative, is currently in the process of securing a UK mandate for his client, and made it clear that a City switch could be on the cards.

“I have put Benzema forward after a talk with a very reliable and high source at Manchester City as a possible summer signing,” he told Sky Sports.

“We spoke with Manchester United two years ago and it went nowhere, which I can see is perhaps a regret on their part.

“The player has stated himself he will not go to Manchester United, however, he has not ruled out a switch to join the champions. I will have a clearer picture soon after the Euros when I have time to sit with his representatives.”

Such encouraging noises from the player’s agent will be music to the ears of Citizens fans, who hope for their club to overhaul United on a consistent basis.

Securing the signature of a player long coveted by Sir Alex Ferguson would go some way to signifying a power shift in Manchester, and a player of Benzema’s quality would undoubtedly aid City’s bid to land back-to-back Premier League titles.

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