2022 Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema is finding that money doesn’t always buy you happiness (see also: Jordan Henderson) as he’s reportedly “not happy” with how his first six lucrative months in Saudi Arabia have gone.
His team, Al-Ittihad, the defending champions, have lost three in a row to fall to seventh in the Saudi Pro League, drastically off the pace of Al-Hilal, who have nearly twice as many points, and well below the top-three that qualify for the AFC Champions League. Benzema himself does have nine goals in the league and twelve in all competitions, but he’s not even the top scorer on his team, let alone in the league.
Big Benz has apparently come under some criticism for all that, and he’s now “exploring his options” and “mulling” his exit. Obviously, Al-Ittihad are “reluctant” to let him leave, even on loan, but speculation has only grown in the last couple days. And with a Real Madrid return ruled out, Chelsea have been among the first names mentioned as a potential destination. (Other names include Arsenal, Manchester United, and just about any top Premier League team other than Manchester City.)
And that sounds delightful on paper, but with Benzema recently celebrating his 36th birthday, we might be reminded of how loans of this nature have rarely, if ever worked out well for us. You might think that there is no chance that someone of his track record could never ever ever follow in the footsteps of Falcao, Higuaín, or Pato ... but the black cloud of misfortune that follows every Chelsea striker around is not so easy to escape.
Do we need a proven goalscorer? Yes, probably. Could Benzema fill that role? Most likely. Will this happen? ... I guess we’ll see, though my guess is a firm no as this is all very speculative right now. Can’t see Benzema wanting out badly enough to come muck it up in midtable with us instead.
Breaking: Karim Benzema is exploring his options in the January transfer window after six underwhelming months at Al Ittihad, sources have told @LaurensJulien.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 17, 2024
The Premier League could be an option for Benzema, with multiple clubs, including Chelsea, showing interest. pic.twitter.com/FB1WGiPIry