"We can not fight against the rumours, but I assure you Karim will not go to Arsenal. There has never been any discussions and no contact has been established."
Arsenal surely cannot be too surprised. Benzema was never a realistic target.
At this late stage in the transfer window, selling clubs hold all the power. They are not going to accept offers for important players unless they are confident that they can secure a replacement. Only players deemed surplus to requirements are likely to be allowed to leave at this point.
Given Benzema’s importance to Carlo Ancelotti's squad, Real would be mad to let him go.
Arsenal themselves were strongly linked with Higuain before turning their attentions to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Arsene Wenger has since admitted that particular deal is dead in the water, and thus, Benzema’s name has appeared on the Gunners’ radar.
A deal that complicated is unlikely to ever come off.
Arsenal would need several dominoes to fall into place before they could proceed with a transfer.
It would require Liverpool’s intransigence to soften and for them to accept a bid from Real Madrid.
It would also then require Benzema to swap up his career fighting for the La Liga title at the Bernabeu to battling for fourth in the Premier League. Neither eventuality has ever seemed particularly likely.
Arsenal’s search for a star striker it set to drag on until the final days of the transfer window. Speculative moves for Higuain, Wayne Rooney and Benzema have all failed to covert to deals. Time is running out for Wenger to add the firepower he craves.
For now, he’ll have to continue to rely upon another Frenchman, Olivier Giroud, who has begun his 2013/14 campaign with three goals in three games.
If Giroud can maintain his outstanding form, Arsenal might find that they do not need Benzema quite so badly.
James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013/14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.