?As with any transfer period build-up, the customary Karim Benzema to Arsenal rumours have once again began to circulate ahead of this summer’s window.
According to Spanish outlet Diario Gol, a significant dip in form over a the course of a disappointing season could see Real Madrid president Florentino Perez finally cut ties with his long-favoured number nine.
The report suggests that Perez is willing to part with Benzema, but only for an inflated price of £70m, a sum which far exceeds the £35m which Arsenal are reportedly interested in paying to secure the striker’s services.
Since his arrival at Real Madrid in summer 2009, Benzema has been a generally indispensable centre-piece of Los Blancos’ attack, providing a direct goal threat with his trademark cool finishing ability, and a knack of bringing out the best in Cristiano Ronaldo and co around him with excellent linkup play.
This season has seen the Frenchman suffer his least consistent campaign at the Bernabeu to date. Benzema has scored just five goals in 27 La Liga appearances this term, a return which undermines his world-class status. ?His time at Madrid this season has often been difficult, both on and off the pitch.
Benzema has been a long-standing target for Arsene Wenger over numerous years of searching for a proven goal scorer capable of firing his Arsenal side back to the top, having often lacked a centre-forward with true killer instinct since the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2013.
Having spent over £100m combined on the transfers of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over the past two transfer windows, it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will move to add yet another top forward to their ranks this summer.
Aubameyang’s stunning start to life at the Emirates and Lacazette’s encouraging goal return since returning from his recent knee injury, in contrast to Benzema having not scored from open play since February, could see Wenger’s cool his interest in the Madrid hitman.
Were Benzema to be made available, however, and should Perez lower his demands for the 30-year-old, the opportunity to finally land a long-coveted player of the striker’s calibre could prove difficult to turn down.
Benzema would face stiff competition from the likes of Aubameyang and compatriot Lacazette if he were to move to North London. Having fallen largely out of favour under Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu to the likes of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, this could be a switch which Benzema is finally prepared to make.