Puel - Real deal too good
Claude Puel insists Karim Benzema was happy at Lyon but the offer from Real Madrid was too good.
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 02/07/09 2:13pm
Claude Puel insists that Karim Benzema wanted to stay at Lyon for another season but he could not turn down the offer of a six-year deal at Real Madrid.
The French club accepted an offer of £30million for the gifted striker from Real on Wednesday and the 21-year-old looks set to become the Spaniards' fourth major signing of the summer taking their spending spree to £180million.
The France international was also said to have sparked interest from Manchester United with manager Sir Alex Ferguson thought to be a long-term admirer but the Premier League champions failed to lodge a bid.
Puel indicated that Real's offer, which could rise to £35million, was too good for Lyon to turn down and he is confident that Benzema has the ability to be a big hit in the Spanish capital.
"It was an opportunity for Karim and the club has decided to accept his expectation," the Lyon coach confirmed to L'Equipe.
"One year before the World Cup he has probably had to think a lot about the situation.
"We have considered the sporting and the economic aspects. We know we are losing a quality player. I believe he has the right weapons for such a challenge."
Puel was already busy lining up Benzema's replacement after singling out Porto striker Lisandro Lopez as a possible transfer target.
"About our reinforcements, it could change in the coming hours or days," he added.
"Our fans are worrying and it's logical because we have no reinforcements yet and we are losing our best element.
"His departure can't change the club's ambitions. We are working to get Lisandro Lopez. However if he will not join us, we could turn to other trails."