Is Real Madrid Striker Karim Benzema the Right Transfer Move for Arsenal?

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 15, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 11:  Karim Benzema of France celebrates after scoring the sixth goal during the International Friendly match between France and Australia at Parc des Princes on October 11, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

The Metro, among others, have linked Karim Benzema to the possibility of a January transfer move to Arsenal.

The Gunners are in need of bodies in the striking department with Olivier Giroud the only senior, reliable presence there, and should the former Montpellier man go down, a fantastic start to the season could tail off rather quickly.

Arsene Wenger spent much of the summer courting Luis Suarez, as per the BBC, but eventually came up short for the Uruguayan's signature and was forced to go back to the drawing board.

In the end no strikers were secured, leaving Wenger with just Nicklas "I'll never play for Arsenal again" Bendtner and the inexperienced, injury-prone Yaya Sanogo.

If Arsenal wish to maintain this fantastic form and ride out congestion in the fixture list in 2014, January presents a window of opportunity Wenger cannot miss.

Benzema has started the 2013-'14 season well in the wake of Gonzalo Higuain's sale to Napoli, bagging four goals and four assists from 10 starts so far, and on paper provides an excellent competitive option for Olivier Giroud up front.

The two regularly tussle for a spot in Didier Deschamps' France national side, and bringing the striking battle from a top international side to the club sounds an excellent idea in principle.

Benzema has buckets of experience, 61 caps for Les Bleus and a proven track record in the UEFA Champions League. He's close to a one-in-two record for los Blancos, and Giroud and Mesut Ozil would facilitate his settling in North London and help produce an immediate impact.

But football isn't played on paper, and Benzema regularly fails to hit form in La Liga despite playing ahead of a plethora of elite creative options at the Santiago Bernabeu.

What happens if Giroud goes down?
What happens if Giroud goes down?Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Simply put, he's not a clinical finisher—evidenced by his domestic record of 13 shots per goal—and that puts him in the same unenviable range Giroud was last season (9.7).

Benzema has recently ended one of the most horrendous goal droughts in footballing history, with his goal for France against Australia this weekend his first in an astonishing 1,224 minutes.

He's a linkup, target striker—and a very good one at that—so it's unfair to measure his game solely on goals, but for the mooted fee of £20 million, the Emirates crowd will demand a pretty decent return.

It's unlikely the former Lyon ace will ever become the clinical finisher Suarez has become, and Wenger has set a standard in the transfer market by signing a player as talented as Ozil.

Is this the level Arsenal are aiming for, or should they be dipping their feet into the tier above?

You get the impression Benzema would be the ideal foil for for Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale once both are fully fit and in form, as his layoffs and final-third passes are top-notch, and Carlo Ancelotti won't be eager to sell.

The notion that Benzema would be "offered" to the Gunners is likely false given the dearth of striking options his departure would leave the Merengues. That said, he needs get out of Madrid; the crowd boo him and dislike his style, his demanour on the pitch.

A potential move by the Frenchman could open things up for Luis Suarez too, so be prepared for a January transfer window merry-go-round featuring Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

As for Benzema and his prospects of shining in North'd be nice to see what he's capable of with a bit of love from the terraces.




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