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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson keen on Lyon striker Benzema

Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that Manchester United could sign Lyon striker Karim Benzema. The Red Devils boss watched Benzema, along with his team-mate winger Hatem Ben Arfa, last weekend and will get a further chance to see the pair when his side face Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Benzema has hit 16 Ligue 1 goals this season while Ben Arfa was twice on target against VfB Stuttgart in the Champions League in November.

'It is an area we tried to strengthen last summer and I don't think that's left us,' Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News.

'I have big hopes for Danny Welbeck and he's progressing well but he's young. And we have Frazier Campbell coming back who has done well at Hull, but he's young as well.

'Benzema is only 20 and Ben Arfa is also 20. Lyon produce young players and Benzema is a local boy, which I'm sure gives them pride.'

Ferguson though knows the player won't come cheap, rating Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas as one of European football's best negotiators.

'The president is a very clever man,' he said. 'He's so clever he can sell midfield players (Mahamadou Diarra) for £20m. That's amazing.

'That Jeremy Toulalan he bought from Nantes just sits and does the same job Diarra did. When they sold Michael Essien, they took Tiago then sold Tiago to Juventus for £6m.

'Eric Abidal, £10m for a left back. They're a well-run club.'

However Benzema has said he would reject a switch to Old Trafford because he wants to win the Champions League with Lyon.

'A move to United wouldn't be right for me at this time,' Benzema told the News of the World.

'I have said I wouldn't leave Lyon until we've won the Champions League and I have no intention of trying to go too quickly.'