Lyon 'powerless' to keep Benzema

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The Independent Football

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has hinted he could be powerless to keep Karim Benzema at the Stade Gerland.

The young striker is one of the world's hottest properties at the moment, with Inter Milan and Real Madrid among the clubs reportedly considering tabling a 40million euro bid.

Speculation is also rife Manchester United are ready to use some of the money earned from the impending sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid to bring Benzema to Old Trafford.

And, although Aulas is confident the 21-year-old will remain at Lyon at least until next summer's World Cup, he admits a mega bid could sway Lyon's stance.

"Karim has said that he wants to stay another year at Lyon," Aulas told L'Equipe. "But I think that Kaka or Ronaldo maybe imagined remaining with their respective clubs.

"There is a tsunami called Real Madrid which provokes reactions at Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

"So it is very complicated to say that he is non-transferable. Today, it's obvious we want to keep him.

"There is more chance he'll be at Lyon next season than that he won't be.

"I won't hide from you the fact that he has been approached. For the moment, I managed to convince them not to go further."

Benzema has come through the ranks at the French giants and burst onto the scene in the 2007-08 season with 31 goals in 51 games, a streak that saw him named Ligue 1 player of the year as well as top the league's scoring charts.

This campaign was less impressive for both club and player, as Lyon ended the season without the Ligue 1 title for the first time in eight years, but the France forward nevertheless scored 23 goals in all competitions - an average of a goal every other game.