Karim Benzema
Manchester United are open to a swap deal involving Karim Benzema and David De Gea after opening talks with the forward's agent  Getty Images/PAUL ELLIS

Manchester United have reportedly opened talks with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema's agent over a summer move to Old Trafford.

According to Manchester Evening News, United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was spotted with the French forward's agent at a London hotel amid reports that the Red Devils are planning a £40m ($61.4) move for the striker.

Louis van Gaal has made signing a forward one of his main priorities during the summer transfer window after seeing his front line struggle during the course of the 2014/15 campaign. Wayne Rooney was the Red Devils' top scorer in the league with 14 goals, while Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao contributed 14 goals between them.

The Colombian international has already been released from his loan spell and the Dutchman's future at the club remains uncertain, prompting the former Bayern Munich manager to target a top quality forward ahead of next season.

Benzema has a contract with the 10-time European champions until the summer of 2019, but has been constantly linked with a move to the Premier League. This will come as a big blow to Arsenal and the Gunners have also been linked with a move, with Arsene Wenger a big admirer of the former Lyon forward.

Meanwhile, according to another report, United, who are almost resigned to the fact that in-demand goalkeeper David de Gea will depart to Real in the summer, with the Spanish capital club increasingly confident of landing the stopper, whom they view as a long-term replacement for Iker Casillas.

But United are not willing to let him go without the La Liga giants parting with one of their top stars. The 20-times English champions have already had a bid for Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane rebuffed by the club, and therefore are now targeting a move for Benzema as part of the deal and are confident that they can get the Frenchman in a "player-plus-cash deal".