Real Madrid are reported to have opened negotiations with Karim Benzema over extending his stay at Santiago Bernabéu beyond 2021.
Los Blancos signed off for the winter break with three straight domestic draws that saw them fall two points behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race, and while it has been a bumpy season so far, you dread to think where they'd be without the reliable goalscoring outlet offered by Benzema.
The French striker has been the primary saving grace of what has been an inconsistent season for Zinedine Zidane's men so far, assuming the role of the club's talisman from Cristiano Ronaldo where the likes of Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard have struggled. He's been a virtual ever-present, scoring 16 goals in 23 appearances, and despite turning 32 this month, he remains perhaps his side's most valuable player.
155 - Excluding Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, no other player has scored more goals (155) and provided more assists (75) in #LaLiga in this decade than Karim Benzema. Smell.#Opta2010s pic.twitter.com/gDFSc5d5YO— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 25, 2019
That being the case, it's hardly a surprise to hear that the club are keen to keep him in the frame long-term, and Spanish outlet AS say this is indeed the case.
Informal negotiations are said to have kicked off over the last few days, with neither side in a particular hurry to get things done, the general feeling being that an agreement will be reached on an extension for 'one or two years' sooner rather than later.
The lack of urgency stems from the fact the Frenchman still has 18 months to run on his deal, so there is no immediate risk of losing him for free provided a deal is reached at some stage in 2020.
Interest from PSG and indeed Benzema's former side Lyon may prove to be the only spanner in the works, with both sides mentioned as interested parties in bringing him to France.
It seems, however, as though the striker is happy enough at Real, where he continues to be valued as an elite goalscoring talent, and it looks increasingly likely that he will prolong his stay in the foreseeable unless we see a drastic change in circumstances.