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Spanish giants keen on French superstar,19528,11827_3431030,00.html

Barcelona are reported to be keen on taking Lyon's exciting young striker Karim Benzema to Camp Nou.

The French international has attracted interest from a number of Europe's top clubs after grabbing 21 goals in all competitions this season.

Manchester United appeared to be the favourites to capture his signature should he decide to leave Stade Gerland, but Spanish giants Barca have now signalled their interest.

The Catalan club's sporting director Txiki Beguiristain was in Lyon on Tuesday night to run the rule over the striker, and saw him score as the Ligue 1 leaders beat Metz 1-0 in the Coupe de France.

The French side are understandably keen to hang on to their prize asset but could be tempted into a sale should Barca offer around 30million euros (£24million).

Barcelona are keen to rebuild over the summer after a disappointing domestic season in the Primera Division and see Benzema as the ideal replacement for the disgruntled Ronaldinho.

Beguiristain is understood to have already held preliminary discussions with Bernard Lacombe as to the player's availability and is actively seeking a meeting with Lyon's president Jean Michel Aulas in the near future.

Another player who may be discussed should such talks materialise is Hatem Ben Arfa, as Barcelona are also understood to be admirers of the talented playmaker.

- To me this is not bad news. It would indicate that Lyon might be willing to sell and that the contract extension Benzema recently signed might just have been to up the asking price for the promising young striker.

I'm not sure we should enter the fray though if £24million is what his valuation is at. The final price might be around the £30million mark once any potential bidding war is over.
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