Real Madrid Transfer News: Breaking Down Arsenal's Pursuit of Karim Benzema
Arsenal just can't do anything simple. The club is rumoured to have interest in Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. And Real Madrid are rumoured to be willing to sell if they can flip that money for Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
Seems simple enough, right?
Unfortunately, that's where the simplicity ends. For one thing, Benzema is keen to remain at the Madrid club according to his agent.
Talking to the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Benzema's agent, Karim Djaziri, said: "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."
There had been talk that the imminent arrival of Gareth Bale would push Benzema out of Madrid, but Djaziri confirmed his client is in discussions over a new contract. "We are working on a contract extension for three years," he said. "Discussions are taking place quietly, without deadline. Karim could well end his career at Real, the club of his dreams."
Bryan Swanson of Sky Sports heard the same from Djaziri:
Spoken to Karim Benzema's agent and maintains: "Karim is very happy at R. Madrid.. not moving to Arsenal... not looking to leave." #afc— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) August 25, 2013
Oh, and Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool won't sell Suarez, even to a team outside of the Premier League, this late in the transfer window.
Here are Rodgers' comments, via Kevin Palmer of ESPN:
There might have been a point (to selling Suarez) a few months ago where there was time to do it, but with 11 days to go it would be difficult to replace him.
I’m sure there will be plenty of activity in these last number of days. It is what it is and we will deal with it like we have during the summer. It’s very difficult at this time (for a Suarez bid to succeed). We are trying to get one or two more quality players in through the door, but selling Luis now is not an option.
Okay, so things are simple again, right? Benzema and Suarez are just staying put, correct?
More than likely, but nothing is assured in the silly season of the summer transfer window. Arsenal can still offer Benzema a few attractive benefits if he switches to English football—a guaranteed first-place spot in a World Cup year, an attractive brand of football, a French manager in Arsene Wenger and Champions League football.
And with even the hint of Real Madrid interest, Suarez could get huffy again and rejuvenate his desire to leave Anfield.
While it's hard to imagine how Real Madrid could afford to sign Bale and Suarez in the same summer without selling a star of their own—perhaps Angel di Maria or Mesut Ozil—if Los Blancos were able to sign Suarez, Benzema might find a starring role at Arsenal rather than a time-share with Suarez more appealing.
Of course, it could be di Maria who Arsenal end up pursuing more seriously. Or both di Maria and Benzema, though that kind of move might be too expensive for the Gunners, even in a summer when they are supposedly flush with cash.
From Real Madrid's perspective, adding Suarez essentially in exchange for Benzema would be an excellent move. Suarez is a more consistent goalscorer, and his incisive runs into space would give playmakers like Isco and Ozil a constant outlet in dangerous positions on the pitch.
This menage a trois of player movement seems unlikely to go down, as both Benzema and Liverpool don't seem keen to participate in Real Madrid and Arsenal's plots to land new strikers.
But one imagines this new bit of transfer drama will gain steam once Bale is officially signed and a player like di Maria or Ozil—desperate to find regular first-team football for a Champions League side—move to a new club and free up some more funds for Los Blancos.
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