Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be encouraged by Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema's failure to make France's World Cup squad.

Benzema's omission shocked Real teammates, with Gonzalo Higuain declaring: "It seems astonishing to me.

"He's been involved throughout almost all of France's qualifying campaign. Looked at from here, the squad is very surprising."

The Independent says one person who could benefit from Benzema's fall from grace is Ferguson. United balked at the fee Lyons were demanding for the striker last summer - and his wages.

Now, after a disappointing season at the Bernabeu and denied the opportunity to shine in South Africa, Benzema might be more accommodating over his salary, while Real could be prepared to cut their losses. Ferguson, a long-term admirer, may be tempted to do a deal.