AC Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has denied holding talks with Real Madrid over Karim Benzema, but would not rule out a move for team-mate Mateo Kovacic.
Benzema’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu has been the subject of recent speculation, with new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho reportedly monitoring his situation with a view to making a bid.
The revelation from Robert Lewandowski’s agent on Friday that the Bayern Munich striker has held talks with Madrid has cast further doubt on Benzema’s future, while Milan have also been linked with an offer should a takeover from a Chinese consortium be completed.
Galliani, however, says Benzema remains highly valued by the Madrid hierarchy and has never been considered a realistic target.
“We never talked about Benzema with Real Madrid or his entourage,” he told Mediaset Premium. “He’s very much admired by the coaches, directors and president of Real Madrid, so we never thought of reaching him.”
Galliani would not dismiss the idea of a bid for Kovacic, however, with the midfielder having struggled to force his way into Zinedine Zidane’s plans since he took charge in January.
“Kovacic? We’ll see,” Galliani said, before adding: “I am not here to talk about the market.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also been linked with a return to Milan as he weighs up his options following a decision to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract.
Galliani has repeatedly stressed that the Sweden star’s wages would be a major stumbling block for any potential deal and he maintains that meetings with the striker’s agent, Mino Raiola, are unlikely to solve the problem.
“I always have meetings with Raiola – we have a good rapport and he represents four or five Milan players,” he said. “The problem is not meeting Raiola, but paying Ibrahimovic.”
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