Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Karim Benzema Could Ignite Best Spree of the Summer
The English heatwave appears to have shriveled Arsene Wenger's willingness to spend money, but with 10 days of the transfer window remaining, the Frenchman's rumoured pursuit of Karim Benzema could rehydrate Arsenal's dry spell with some of August's most prolific business.
Benzema has emerged as Wenger’s priority signing and, following an initial inquiry to Real Madrid, there is growing confidence that a £40 million bid would be enough to secure the France striker.
Arsenal are also keen on Di Maria, who is available and was previously put forward as a potential part of the Bale deal.
Both players are realistic targets and have the ability to attract other top names through the Emirates' door. Benzema's potential arrival is particularly interesting—now it appears Madrid are hunting the signature of Suarez. The former Arsenal target has outlined the Bernabeu as his top destination across the summer, as reiterated by James Olley of the Evening Standard.
Despite Andy Hunter of The Guardian confirming Liverpool are set to rebuff any bids for the wantaway striker, Madrid are prone to bullying in the transfer market and very rarely fail to land their targets.
Benzema is no longer needed if Luis Suarez joins Los Blancos, especially now that Alvaro Morata is ready for a prolonged burst in the starting lineup. Of course, this assertion is amplified if Gareth Bale's move to Spain goes through, as reported by John Perey of The Telegraph.
Bale's move ignites a carousel of action for Carlo Ancelotti's men. Should Arsenal land players in the ilk of Benzema and Di Maria, the Gunners become an irresistible proposition to many other top talents, including Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye.
Wenger has already had one bid rejected for the Toon midfielder. As reported by Louise Taylor of The Guardian, Arsenal are yet to return with a second bid. While Cabaye's potential arrival fails to address the main needs of the squad—another ball-playing midfielder isn't what the North London club is hankering for—he represents the right quality of individual who should be targeted.
Arsenal have continued to be linked with players such as Michu and Wayne Rooney across the past few weeks, as confirmed by Gerard Brand of The Independent. Any deal for Benzema would kill these moves but would allow Wenger to focus on defensive reinforcements as the transfer window comes to a close.
Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Star believes the club has put its hunt of Ashley Williams on hold while Wenger weighs up the lure of Manchester City's Micah Richards. The England full-back continues to struggle for a first-team place at the Etihad and is unlikely to dislodge Pablo Zabaleta from his comfy spot at right-back.
One has to ask: What does this late flurry of activity mean for an Arsenal squad that continues to battle injuries, suspension and inconsistent form?
Benzema's arrival speaks for itself. The powerful French forward, who netted his first goal of the season in Real Madrid's 2-1 La Liga win over Real Betis, possesses a number of attributes that would strengthen the Gunners attack.
His ability to hold up the ball, intelligent passing and lethal finishing skills would relegate Olivier Giroud to the bench. On current form, the former Montpellier man is certainly an excellent option to call into play, but he remains unproven at Premier League level across an entire season.
Benzema's appearance would almost certainly mean the end for Lukas Podolski, who is struggling for game time as it is.
Di Maria's exciting talent on the wings would also fit in perfectly at the Emirates. A front three consisting of Benzema, Di Maria and Theo Walcott will induce salivation for many, as the combination of pace and power would surely be Arsenal's most lethal since Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp ripped through the top flight.
Although not an essential buy, the potential capture of Cabaye will suit Wenger if he can land the midfielder for a low sum. The 27-year-old's tenacity and tackling ability would tighten an improving Gunners midfield, but Wenger has more pressing needs to satisfy first.
Similarly, the arrival of Richards is an attractive prospect if Arsenal improve other areas before going ahead.
Most interestingly, it is the exploits of Tottenham that could affect Arsenal's success in the transfer market this summer. If Bale heads to Madrid then Benzema and Di Maria suddenly become likely targets, even if Wenger doesn't want to confirm Arsenal's interest, as tweeted by Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph:
On Benzema and Di Maria: "I don't want to speak about names. I'll leave that to you - you do that very well."— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) August 23, 2013
Landing one of these players will act as a catalyst for further business. By the time the window closes, Gunners fans might just peer into the new squad with a feeling of ecstasy.
Should Benzema and Di Maria head towards the Emirates pitch in red and white, Wenger will have secured one of the summer's best spending sprees at the last opportunity to do so.
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