Arsenal Transfer News: Karim Benzema the 'Special' Signing the Gunners Need

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2014

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Arsene Wenger has ruled out making any January signings unless a “special player” becomes available in the window, as talkSPORT reported. It’s a pretty similar declaration to the one made by the Arsenal boss in the final knockings of the summer window, before going on to complete a club-record deal for the signing of Mesut Ozil.

There aren’t many special players out there for starters, but you’ll do very well to find special players who are available for transfer mid-season. Having ruled out making another move for Luis Suarez in the January transfer window, if they are looking for a player to spruce up their forward line then Wenger should go all out for Karim Benzema.

Should Wenger reunite Ozil and Benzema at the Emirates?
Should Wenger reunite Ozil and Benzema at the Emirates?Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Wenger is a known admirer of the Real Madrid front man, and Arsenal have been consistently linked with the Frenchman for a long time now. If the Gunners were able to secure his signature, either in this window or at some point further down the line, he would certainly transform their attack for the better.

Just imagine his dynamic and athletic playing style combined with the creative talents of Arsenal’s flair midfielders; he’d be an exceptional purchase.

The Gunners have a host of wonderful players who are gifted manipulators of the ball—attacking midfielders who ghost between the lines, play short incisive passes and look to knit the play together. 

And whilst Olivier Giroud has been excellent this season as a lone forward, a player who can run in behind and create space for these players to operate in would make for an even better foil for the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.

Benzema fits the bill in that sense. But not only would he create space for others, he would also thrive on the service. Granted, he might not have a reputation for having the most composed head in front of goal, but he has improved this facet of his game this season. Plus, a haul of 63 goals in 140 games for Real is by no means a shabby return for a striker whose game is based on much more than goals. 

Karim Benzema Stats 2013/14 (All Competitions)
Appearances (as a substitute)20 (1)
Average Shots Per Game2.4
Average Key Passes Per Game1.8

Nonetheless, his intelligent movement and sharp reactions facilitate plenty of opportunities for him, so in some respects, he can afford to miss the odd chance.

He has often been accused of being a little one-dimensional, but under previous Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho he improved his all-round game hugely. Physically too, he looks tailor-made for the rigors of the Premier League and English football.

It’d be a dream purchase, but should this one be filed away under “never going to happen”? Perhaps for the time being, yes.

Los Blancos, a little like Arsenal themselves, have a host of gifted midfield players but they aren’t blessed with depth in terms of their striking options. Benzema is their only senior centre-forward and you can’t imagine Real Madrid letting him go without a replacement forward in the pipeline.

And with Robert Lewandowski off to Bayern Munich, and Luis Suarez looking likely to be going nowhere fast, replacements look to be thin on the ground at the moment. The Frenchman looks almost certain to stick around at the Bernabeu until the end of the season, but in the summer Arsenal might have a chance.

Benzema himself might also fancy a move. After all, he is regularly jeered by the Madridistas in the Bernabeu and has fast become something of an unpopular figure. He certainly doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but that is perhaps understandable as his contribution is often eclipsed by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

If he were to go, it would be for big money. Not to mention, it would surely spark a transfer merry-go-round of top-dollar forwards. But Wenger would have another one of his special players for sure.