Benzema: It's normal that Madrid would want a new forward

The France international signed a new contract with the European champions earlier this month and is ready for renewed competition for a starting berth


Karim Benzema has insisted that he would not be concerned if Real Madrid were to sign a new striker before the close of the summer transfer window.

The France international put pen to paper on a new five-year deal with the Santiago Bernabeu club this summer, ending speculation over his future.

However, the European champions are still being heavily linked with a move for Monaco attacker Radamel Falcao – and Benzema insists that he would welcome the extra competition for a starting berth.

“For me, Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world and it’s normal that they’d want to sign a striker,” the forward told reporters.

Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 on Tuesday to claim Uefa Super Cup glory and Benzema is confident that Carlo Ancelotti’s reinforced squad can complete a clean sweep of trophies this season in light of the summer signings of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez.

“It’s very nice to win this title, with good players having a good game,” the 26-year-old continued.

“Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez are great players who will help the team. We have many good players in attack and they’ll gradually work together to help the team.

“We did a great job [against Sevilla] and we are very happy with this title. I am very pleased and happy at Real Madrid. I’m going to continue working to win many titles here.

“It’s possible to win six trophies, we will work for it. We have many players, we are stronger than last year. Now we have two senior teams.”

Manchester United line up €75 million double bid for Cuadrado & Blind

Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is seeking to reinforce his squad ahead of the beginning of their 2014-15 Premier League campaign this weekend

By Greg Stobart & David Craddock

Manchester United are pressing ahead with talks to sign Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado and Ajax defender Daley Blind as they step up their preparations for the new season.

Goal understands that United have been in contact for several weeks over a deal worth up to €45 million for Cuadrado and are confident of signing the winger, who starred for Colombia at the World Cup.

Louis Van Gaal is also desperate for defensive additions and has identified Blind as a versatile target who can play either at centre-back or left-back. The United manager knows the 24-year-old well from his time as Netherlands coach and is ready to spend between €20m and €25m to bring him to Old Trafford.

United are planning to play a 3-5-2 formation this season and Van Gaal has instructed the club to pursue Blind in addition to Sporting defender Marcos Rojo, who was named in the World Cup team of the tournament.

The Old Trafford club made a move for the 24-year-old on Tuesday but a deal for Argentine, who has been disciplined by his club and will not play in his side’s season opener against Academia, is likely to be held up by issues concerning third-party ownership.

United, however, are hopeful of clinching the deal to provide Van Gaal with a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title.

Blind, meanwhile, who worked successfully under Van Gaal as part of the Dutch side that finished third at the World Cup, recently revealed his openness to the possibility of leaving Ajax this summer.

He said: “I am happy here in Amsterdam. But if there comes another club I will have to think about it and then we will see. I will think about my options. For now I will focus on Ajax and we will see what happens next week.”

Cuadrado, 26, has been strongly linked with Barcelona but United believe they have the financial firepower to outbid the Catalans for his signature, although they have so far been unwilling to offer more than €37.5m for the former Udinese man.

Van Gaal wants a top quality winger to support strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney and will keep tabs on Real Madrid wide man Angel Di Maria after Paris Saint-Germain pulled out of a deal to sign the Argentine.

Cuadrado, however, is considered a more realistic option and the player has told Fiorentina of his desire to move to a leading European club this summer.

United missed out on a place in Europe following a disastrous season under David Moyes but believe they still have the profile and finances to attract big names to Old Trafford.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has insisted that money is no object for United this season and suggested that they can afford to break the world record of £86m paid by Real Madrid for Gareth Bale.

Van Gaal has taken his time to assess the squad – which he feels drastically underperformed last term – and is now urging United to sign reinforcements to a group of players he has continually described as “unbalanced”.

United have already spent €75m this summer on the transfers of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera but are understood to have a transfer budget of around €200m.

Manchester United target Rojo disciplined by Sporting

The Portuguese club’s president, Bruno de Carvalho, insists the club will not be pressured into selling the Argentina international this summer

Manchester United target Marcos Rojo has been disciplined by Sporting for his alleged lack of professionalism and will not feature in the club’s season opener against Academica on Saturday.

It had been reported in Portugal that the 24-year-old Argentina left-back refused to train on Tuesday amid interest from United, with Louis van Gaal’s side submitting €24 million offer.

Southampton are also keen to secure a deal but Rojo, who can operate at centre-back as well as on the left side of defence, is keen to move to Old Trafford.

Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho has revealed that Islam Slimani has also been reprimanded and insists the two players cannot bully the club into selling them this summer.

“They are subject to disciplinary action,” De Carvalho told Sporting TV.

“Both players took decisions that have provoked strong, internal disciplinary action. A general note: Any player who does not follow the rules of the club, these two or any others, they can do what they want, but it only complicates the issue.

“Don’t use the press, be professionals. These players are subject to strong disciplinary measures.

“They can’t play on Saturday, if they want they can watch the game at home.

“It could delay things a lot, it could drag things out a lot, but on Saturday it will not be resolved.”

When asked if the duo’s actions could lead to their exits, De Carvalho replied: “It could end with them seeing out their three-year contracts.”

Bayern Munich don't need Reus, insists Guardiola

The Catalan coach says he is not looking to sign the Germany international as he already has eight forwards available to him at the Allianz Arena


Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has insisted that he is perfectly happy with the strength of the squad at his disposal – despite persistent rumours of interest in Borussia Dortmund ace Marco Reus.

The Bavarians have signed Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from their Bundesliga rivals in successive summers and are now being heavily linked heavily with the 25-year-old attacker.

However, Guardiola feels that he has more than enough forward options as it stands – despite complaining of his players’ fitness on Tuesday.

“We already have eight strikers,” the Catalan coach pointed out at a press conference.

“I do not need new players. I am pleased with this squad.”

Bayern, who won a domestic double last term, begin their 2014-15 campaign at 18:00CET on Wednesday with a DFL-Supercup clash with Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park.

BVB, who won the curtain-raiser last term, finished as runners-up to Bayern in both the DFB-Pokal and the Bundesliga last time out.

Mourinho: Diego Costa a bargain at €40 million

The Portuguese coach has revealed that he decided against signing a striker in January as he was waiting for the former Atletico Madrid forward to become available


Jose Mourinho has revelled in Diego Costa’s pre-season performances for Chelsea, claiming that the €40 million man is going to prove a bargain.

The Brazil-born attacker arrived at Stamford Bridge in July after scoring 27 goals in 35 Liga games for Atletico Madrid last season, helping Diego Simeone’s side win the Spanish title and reached the Champions League final.

Costa netted twice on his home debut for Chelsea as the club rounded off their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad, adding to earlier strikes against Olimpija Ljubljana and Fenerbahce, and Mourinho is confident the big-money move will turn out to be a bargain.

“What can we expect? I expect Diego and Diego is a team player who works hard, he’s not just about goals,” Mourinho told the club’s official website. “It’s about his defensive work, mentality and ambition.

“This is the player we bought and we were waiting for since last season. This is why we didn’t buy a striker in the winter market. We were waiting for him, we have him and hopefully everything goes well.

“He looks adapted to the team, and the Premier League, not just Chelsea, should be happy. Sometimes we lose important players going to other countries and sometimes we bring new top players here.

“You can consider that [a bargain] because the market is crazy and the values are very high. For a striker like him, a champion in Spain, a Champions League finalist, a 25-year-old, we consider the price was very much in our favour.”

Chelsea kick off their Premier League campaign on Monday night against newly-promoted Burnley, and Mourinho is happy with the “strong nucleus” of his team after a successful summer business; bringing in Costa, Luis Filipe and Cesc Fabregas.

“We bought three players, in Filipe, Diego and Cesc, at the best stage for a player, between 25 and 30,” he continued. “They are three experienced players with qualities to immediately improve our team.

“Last season we went to a different profile when we bought people like [Mohamed] Salah and [Andre] Schurrle, who needed time.

“Obviously we also went for [Kurt] Zouma but the strong nucleus of Filipe, Diego and Cesc is ready.

“The squad has improved for sure. This is the Premier League, every team tries to be better. Are we ready for that? Yes, but this is England.

“In some countries only two teams can win the league, sometimes only one, but here it’s five or six.

“The only thing I can say is that I very much like the squad. The club were fantastic because they gave me the three targets I asked for.

“We have the squad we want to have, it’s a squad for tomorrow, for next season and also with big possibilities for the next five to 10 years.”