Karim Benzema
Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema celebrates AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

Football fans around the world are on the edge of their seats today as it becomes increasingly evident that Karim Benzema is set to leave Real Madrid. His most likely destination would be Saudi Arabia, where a contract from Al-Ittihad is waiting for him.

The buzz around a move to the Middle East suddenly gained ground in the past couple of days, even though it was previously believed that an extension agreement had been reached between the Frenchman and Los Blancos.

It was earlier reported that a deal from Saudi Arabia has been offered to the Ballon d'Or winner, which includes a role as the country's ambassador in their bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. Likewise, Benzema has reportedly been given free reign to choose which club to join. However, the developments in the story came quickly, and it has now been revealed that an offer was actually made by Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad.

The club is reportedly confident that their offer of €100m a year for two seasons is enough to tempt the striker. That would make him one of the highest paid footballers in the world, and he would be joining a league that already features former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The latter joined Al-Nassr earlier this year, and helped the club to second place in the league just behind Benzema's potential future employers. According to Madrid Universal, Benzema has already spoken to his former teammate to ask about how things are in Saudi Arabia.

Real Madrid appeared to have wrapped up the renewals of their key players earlier this week after the extension announcements of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, but things suddenly took a major turn thanks to this offer. Now, several news outlets are reporting that the confirmation of Benzema's departure is imminent.

How would Benzema's departure affect Real Madrid?

The French forward will put an end to a glorious 14-year career with the Spanish and European giants if he chooses to accept the offer from Saudi Arabia. The club were confident that he would extend his contract, but if he leaves, they will need to become more active in the summer market.

The current options at the bench are not likely to provide any comfort, and Real Madrid will have to look elsewhere for an ideal replacement. There have been speculations about the possibility of tempting Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane to make the move, especially since his prospects of winning major trophies with his current club remain slim.

The England captain is in the final year of his contract with Spurs, but they are not keen on letting him leave. Thus, a price tag of at least €115m has been put on his head. Real Madrid can certainly afford him, as they were willing to spend much more for Kylian Mbappe just last summer.

However, club president Florentino Perez is known to be a keen business man, and it remains to be seen if he will choose to invest in a player who is set to turn 30 years old in July.

Brahim Diaz back in the spotlight

Benzema's departure will come as a blow, no doubt, especially with the impending departure of Marco Asensio also expected to be announced in the coming days. If both forwards leave, then Real Madrid have the option to come knocking at the door of Brahim Diaz, who is currently loaned out to AC Milan.

He has blossomed significantly in the Serie A, becoming a regular starter with the Rossoneri. He made 32 appearances this season an scored six goals. That is hardly comparable to Benzema's record, but Ancelotti will consider having Diaz in his back pocket to have more options alongside the Brazilian pair of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior up front.

Both Mariano and Eden Hazard will likely remain on the bench, with both players seeing little playing time even if they were available this season. Benzema's decision will really shake things up at the Bernabeu, and it remains to be seen how Perez and Ancelotti will handle the situation.