Mirror Online reported on July 20 that Arsenal is interested in striker Karim Benzema but Real Madrid is not going to let him go anytime soon.
Arsenal is interested in Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
Rob Draper of Mirror Online reported the news on July 20. However, he says "Real Madrid will not offer encouragement for a bid."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger tried to lure Benzema to his team two years ago. They were unussuccesful, but did manage to sign highly-sought German midfielder Mesut Ozil, per Mirror Online.
Draper also stresses Benzema happens to be one of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez's favorite players, so it is highly unlikely that he will end up somewhere else.
However, Draper says Real madrid manager Rafa Benitez would only part ways with Benzema if he can acquire an equally talented striker such as Manchester City's Sergio Aguero. For its part, Arsenal has not ruled out the possiblity of getting a quality striker in the event it cannot sign Benzema.
According to TheSun.co.uk (via ESPN FC), Arsenal is willing to pay as much as £40 million to Benzema.
Wenger denied having interest in Benzema during a press conference in Singapore leading up to the Barclays Asia Trophy Final last week, per ESPN FC:
"I don't know where that story has come from. But that's not happening at the moment.
"I am happy with the current squad. We might strengthen the squad a bit but it will depend on who is available on the market."
Wenger also expressed admiration for new Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling last week. Although the Arsenal manager likes Sterling's game, the former said he never made a move on the latter because he already has too many wingers, per ESPN FC:
"It looked a done deal for a while because Sterling said he wanted to leave. For me, Sterling is a top-class player. It's a good buy for Man City. An expensive one, but they can afford it.
"Personally, I like him. I didn't make a bid because he plays in an area where we have plenty of players. We have (Danny) Welbeck, (Theo) Walcott, (Alex Oxlade) Chamberlain, (Alexis) Sanchez, (Jack) Wilshere can play there, (Sergy) Gnabry.
"He's a wide player basically, or behind the striker."
Wenger told Mirror Online on Monday he is not keen on signing Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, whom he had a chance to lock up to a deal in 2013 but refused. Draper says Wenger's stance remains the same.
Despite the slim chance of landing Benzema, Wenger told ESPN FC last week if Arsenal can find a quality player or two in the next few weeks, it will not hesitate:
"If we find ideally what we want, we are still hoping to do something else. It doesn't depend only on us, it depends on whether we can find them, but if we can find one or two players we will do it."
The 27-year-old Benzema has been with Real Madrid since 2009. He scored 22 goals in 46 matches for the club this past season, per ESPN FC.
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