Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out that he would be in the reckoning for signing the striker Karim Benzema from the Spanish giants Real Madrid. Arsenal and Wenger are in Singapore for their pre-season matches. After dispatching the Singapore Select XI 4-0, Arsenal are scheduled to meet Everton in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy this afternoon. Not surprisingly enough, there were questions on Benezema asked of Wenger ahead of the game.
The only serious business done by Arsenal in the current transfer window is the purchase of goal keeper Petr Cech. Right from last season, there were reports that Wenger is ready to splash the cash for a marquee player. Benzema is someone whom Wenger tracked for many years. But, he always thought that the price is way too high. But, the signing of Mesut Ozil broke all the shackles of large money transfers and also the doubts of supporters. And so when there were reports that Wenger will be looking for a quality striker to reinforce his team, many strikers were linked.
There were rumours of bids being thought for Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette, Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain and Benzema. None of these strikers are cheap but have many suitors. And so, Wenger was categorically mentioning that any move to sign Benzema will depend on the market.
“I don’t know where that story comes from, but that is not happening at the moment,” Wenger said in Singapore. “I am happy with the squad we have. If I find an exceptional player to strengthen, I will do it.
“It depends what’s on the market. It is not easy, there are a lot of teams out there in Europe competing for the same player. We don’t rule it out and [also] don’t guarantee we sign.
“[The title] is our target and we feel we have a chance in a very competitive league. We are not far away.”
Benzema is a proven striker and his stint at Real Madrid is a testimony to that. He had a slow start to his career but soon blossomed into a goal poacher at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. He consistently scored 20 or more goals in the past 5 seasons with the Los Blancos.
In these circumstances it is no wonder that there is a hefty price tag on Benzema. Manchester United is also on the lookout for a striker following the departure of Robin van Persie. They will also be looking at Benzema if he’s available in the market.
Wenger always maintained that he’s in the market for ‘an exceptional player’. Arsenal have tried to sign Benzema in the past but found it really hard to lure the Frenchman out of the club. Wenger went on record to say that he has a stable squad but he will not let the opportunity of signing Benzema go down, if he gets one.
The supporters will be silently hoping that this comes to fruition because Benzema is one of the rare natural goal scorers in European football. If he joins, it will be a massive boost to the whole squad. Though his country man Olivier Giroud keeps him out of the national squad, Benzema will be an addition that may eventually propel Wenger back to Premier League glory.