Following a summer of frustration that has seen Arsene Wenger fail to add any of his main transfer targets, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is set to become the latest player to turn down Arsenal’s advances.
Having missed out on Benzema’s former striking rival Gonzalo Higuain, and with Luis Suarez more likely to remain at Anfield as each passing day comes and goes, Wenger had identified the burly 25-year-old as the next in line to provide some much-needed competition for Olivier Giroud.
However with Higuain departing the Bernabeu, not for North London but for Rafa Benitez’s Napoli last month, it is ironically this move that means Benzema is reluctant to move on, knowing that his long-time duel to become Real’s number one striker is won.
The Frenchman’s agent left no doubt about this today when he told the press that “Karim will not go to Arsenal”, stressing that the likely arrival of Gareth Bale will not threaten his position but in fact allow him to add to his tally of 11 goals last season, given the mouth-watering proposition of having Bale on one wing and Ronaldo on the other.
The one positive for Wenger remains the form of current striker Giroud, whose goal against Fulham on Saturday was his third goal from three matches this season.
It means that the Arsenal boss might be content setting his sights on strengthening his squad in other areas, with a creative midfielder one of those roles needing reinforced.
Yohan Cabaye remains the man on Wenger’s watchlist, with the Newcastle player yet to make an appearance for the Geordies this season, with Alan Pardew admitting that the player is unsettled at the club following Arsenal’s interest.
With a £10m bid deemed unacceptable by Mike Ashley, a bid of closer to £20m could see Arsenal finally splash the cash this summer, with free transfer Yaya Sanogo the only arrival so far. But with PSG also chasing Cabaye’s signature, Wenger will hope that the lure of Paris’ Qatari lucre doesn’t curtail yet another deal before the September deadline.