Arsenal Transfer News: Huge Karim Benzema, Jese Boosts in Latest Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2016

Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema (C) celebrates with Real Madrid's midfielder Jese (R) after scoring during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 6, 2014.    AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal's bid to sign a new forward has received a major boost, as Real Madrid are reportedly planning to offload both Karim Benzema and Jese Rodriguez, according to the latest rumours.

El Chiringuito's Pipi Estrada (h/t Sport's Alejandro Alcazar) claims club president Florentino Perez plans to ditch up to 10 players in an attempt to raise enough money to rebuild the squad, and both Benzema and Jese are on the list.

The Gunners were linked with the former throughout the summer and again in the wake of the blackmail scandal that surfaced late in 2015, per El Confidencial (h/t Daily Mirror's Aaron Flanagan). Meanwhile, Calcio Mercato (h/t Metro's Will Giles) claims manager Arsene Wenger is determined to make an offer for Jese.

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Real Madrid CF president Florentino Perez gives a press conference at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on November 23, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real finished 2015 without a single trophy and were forced to watch rivals Barcelona win five trophies in total, including the La Liga title and the Champions League. Los Blancos have won both competitions just once since the 2011-12 campaign, and entering the new year, they once again trail the Blaugrana in the standings.

There's little doubt Perez will make some changes, although the suggested exodus of 10 total players is unlikely to happen. But some big stars are set to leave the club, and Benzema's ongoing legal problems have certainly opened the door for a move.

The France international remains one of the most uniquely gifted forwards in football, and his start to the 2015-16 campaign has been sensational, despite his legal issues.

Per Agustin Martin of AS English, he's enjoying his best start since joining the club:

Despite some high-profile off-field problems this season, Karim Benzema is enjoying his best start to a season since he arrived at Real Madrid in 2009. The striker has hit 15 goals in 15 games so far (11 in the league and four in Europe), at a rate of a goal of a game. Until now, Benzema's best start to a campaign was last season, when at the same stage he had scored 14.

Here's a look at some of his highlights:

It may not seem logical for Real to consider selling Benzema, considering his hot start, but the club's reported interest in Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski is a big reason why a split could be on the horizon.

Per Alcazar, the Poland international ranks high on Perez's wishlist, and should he join Los Blancos, there would be no room for Benzema in the squad. The 28-year-old is too good to be a backup, and a sale would net Real a hefty fee, which could go toward securing Lewandowski's services.

Whether Benzema would end up at the Emirates Stadium is a whole different matter. Last summer's transfer saga was as frustrating as it was long, but given the amount of articles written on the subject, it's safe to assume the Gunners had at least some interest in the Frenchman.

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 30:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF looks on during the Real Madrid CF vs Real Sociedad as part of the Liga BBVA 2015-2016 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 30, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Power Spo
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

But since then, Benzema has openly admitted he “laughed” at rumours linking him with Arsenal, per Journal du Dimanche (h/t Daily Mirror's Liam Prenderville), and Olivier Giroud scoring form has been so good, he actually outscored Benzema in 2015, via Purely Football.

Meanwhile, Jese is once again struggling for playing time in the Spanish capital, and per Alcazar, the 22-year-old won't be a part of Perez's new project.

A speedy forward who can play in a central role or as a winger, Jese has long been touted as one of the most talented players to emerge from Real's academy in the last couple of years, but a serious knee injury halted his progression in 2014.

He has impressed in limited action in 2015, as you can see in the video below:

Jese is still a fairly raw prospect, and given his injury history and inability to make a big impact for Real's senior squad, the transfer would carry some risk. But Alvaro Morata found himself in a similar situation prior to the 2014-15 campaign, and he has gone on to find much success with Juventus.

For the right fee, Jese would be a smart investment for the Gunners, who could use more depth and young talent in the attacking third.  



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