Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Spurs Eye Lukas Podolski, Gunners Chase Karim Benzema

Ben Blackmore@@Blackmore_BRFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03:  Lukas Podolski of Arsenal battles for the ball with Giandomenico Mesto of Napoli during the match between Arsenal and Napoli at Emirates Stadium on August 3, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal face a fight to retain the services of Lukas Podolski amid reported interest from Tottenham and Schalke, following news that the Gunners will bid for Real Madrid’s £40 million-rated forward Karim Benzema.

According to Massimo Marioni of the Metro, North London rivals Spurs made a shock enquiry for the Germany international, although Gary Jones of the Daily Star lists Schalke as front-runners for his signature.

Podolski only signed for the Gunners last season, brought in as a replacement for Robin van Persie.

But Schalke are now thought to be leading the way, after manager Horst Heldt refused to deny the club were interested.

Arsenal have been credited by BBC with a firm interest in Madrid striker Benzema, who could help balance the books of the Spanish giants once they land the much-anticipated world-record transfer of Gareth Bale.

Should Arsene Wenger convince Carlo Ancelotti to part company with the France international, who scored 20 goals and created 19 others last season, it would push Podolski further down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.

He has already found himself benched for the opening two games of Arsenal’s campaign, despite an impressive showing in preseason, with Olivier Giroud preferred as the lone frontman on both occasions.

According to the Metro, Spurs sounded out the Gunners about a potential transfer, although they were not alone in their pursuit of the lethal left-footer.

Sources in Germany claim Galatasaray, Wolfsburg and Spurs have been in contact with the Gunners over the availability of the out-of-favour forward, although it’s Schalke who are his most likely destination.

There is no doubt Andre Villas-Boas needs more striking options in his ever-developing Spurs squad, with Roberto Soldado only supported by the diminutive Jermain Defoe and the inconsistent Emmanuel Adebayor.

The capture of Willian is expected before the weekend but he will serve to fill the void left by Bale on the left wing, while Villas-Boas hopes he can add £30 million man Erik Lamela from Roma, reports the Daily Star.

However, if that deal fails to materialise Spurs will be left short at the business end of the pitch, particularly if QPR’s reported interest in Defoe, seen here on the Mirror, comes to fruition.

Podolski would offer Villas-Boas flexibility in his attacking options, providing cover for Soldado, as well as Willian on the left wing. However, he is unlikely to want to swap the bench of Arsenal for the sidelines of Spurs.

Schalke represent the most tempting option should the German wish to leave Arsenal, after injuries to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jefferson Farfan left them short of firepower.

Arsenal, though, must first achieve what they have failed to do all summer by landing a top transfer target, and it is likely they will retain Podolski unless either Benzema or Madrid colleague Angel Di Maria arrive before the transfer deadline.