Arsenal are close to confirming the "transfer of the season," according to football agent Muzzi Ozcan.
Ozcan's comment comes amid speculation the Gunners are interested in signing Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, a player who could be forced out of the Bernabeu if Los Blancos sign Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, according to Le10Sport (h/t Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star).
The agent in question "has links with clubs across Europe including Arsenal and West Ham [United]," according to Chris Wheatley of Eurosport. His Mondial Sport Management and Consulting company currently represents Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and Yaya Sanogo from the north London club, suggesting he will be privy to up-to-the-minute information.
Although Benzema could be the player in question, Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports suggested the Gunners have made a massive offer to sign Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain:
Metro writer Jamie Sanderson also links Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze to the club when discussing Ozcan's tweet. Out of the three, Benzema's capture would be the most eyebrow-raising.
However, the French striker remains committed to Madrid and wishes to carve out his place under new boss Rafa Benitez. He was linked with a move to Manchester United this summer, but Karim Djaziri, the player's agent, recently denied Benzema is looking to leave.
Djaziri spoke to Marca (h/t Harry Sherlock of Goal):
I haven't met with any club in London. Not with United and not with anyone else. We haven't held talks with anyone other than Real Madrid.
What is Karim going to do in Manchester? He's happy in Madrid. He doesn't want to leave. Benzema would only leave if Real Madrid told him he was surplus to requirements, because he isn't going to leave of his own accord.
Karim wants to see out his contract. He wants to retire at Real Madrid.
Benzema is easy to overlook at Madrid, where his input remains a footnote to Cristiano Ronaldo's contribution. He scored 15 league goals last season and also played an important role weaving attacking moves together, racking up 10 assists, per WhoScored.com.
The 27-year-old can use his weight to back into defenders and hold up the ball before spreading possession wide. He already has a working relationship with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, who excelled behind Benzema during his time in the Spanish capital.
Arsenal could provide the stage for Benzema to take on a more prominent role, a necessary happening ahead of Euro 2016. He is expected to shoulder France's hopes at the tournament, which they are hosting, and he will want to enter the competition off the back of a prolific domestic campaign. If Benitez pushes Ronaldo into a No. 9 role next season, however, Benzema's playing time at the Bernabeu could be cut.
B/R UK's Sam Tighe recently discussed how likely Arsenal are to sign a major name:
Ozcan's tweet will get many Arsenal fans excited. We're likely to receive a drip-feed of information over the coming days if a deal is being put in place for a world-class star.
Signing any one of Benzema, Higuain or Gotze would add to the feeling Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is on the verge of having a squad that could launch a genuine title challenge.