Arsenal was dealt a major blow on their quest to sign a ‘world-class’ striker when Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (finally) proclaimed his wishes to remain in Spain earlier in the week. Benzema, who was linked with the Gunners for most of the summer, tweeted Monday, “For all those clowns who want to make believe things at my fans. Here this is my home! #HalaMadridYNadaMas.” The message appeared with the France international seated in the Real dressing room with his thumbs up.
The delayed response from Benzema could very well come down to talks breaking down between the two mammoth clubs for the reported £50 million transfer of the player. There was also rumors of a meeting between the 27-year-old’s agent and Arsenal representatives at some point during the summer. Whether this is the case, or there were, in fact, no concrete meetings, offers, or talks remains to be seen.
With Benzema almost certain to stay with Los Blancos for the upcoming season, the Gunners now need to focus on another transfer target. Although the north London outfit has previously been linked with a plethora of forwards, manager Arsene Wenger should only be in the market for a top, top player.
Obviously, labeling a player as “top” or “world-class” is purely subjective, as various people rate players differently. However, players such as Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, as well as Marco Reus and Mario Götze (not traditional strikers, but I’ll explain later) all fit in the Benzema category.
While Arsenal would absolutely love to have any one of the aforementioned players (as would just about any other team in the world), the likelihood of the Gunners obtaining most of these players is undoubtedly low. Bayern Munich duo Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller appear happy with the German giants, and Manchester United’s interest in Müller has apparently earned the 25-year-old an improved contract offer from his club.
Fellow German Marco Reus is also not expected to leave Borussia Dortmund ahead of the transfer deadline next week. Reus, who just signed a new four-year contract with Dortmund back in February, is wanted by just about every significant team in Europe; however, nothing has materialized as of yet.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani might be the most likely of the players listed above to move on this summer, but presumingly not both of them. Ibrahimovic has stated before that his future will be sorted out soon, sparking talk of a possible move to the Premier League, MLS, or even back to his boyhood club Malmo. Cavani, on the other hand, has had his gripes about playing a wide role with PSG, instead of his preferred center forward position.
Cavani is probably the player that makes the most sense for Arsenal right now. The Gunners have money to spend and can afford Cavani, however, any move for the Uruguayan will come down to whether or not the Parisian club is willing to let go of one of their star players.
If Cavani is unavailable for transfer, Arsenal may look to Bayern’s Mario Götze. While the 23-year-old is normally utilized as either an attacking midfielder or winger and not a striker, Götze could still fit into this Arsenal team. Wenger has recently opted to use speedsters Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck (currently injured) in the No. 9 position, instead of out wide, which would give Götze a spot out on the wing. The German international is reportedly unhappy with Bayern (specifically with manager Pep Guardiola), and a chance of a switch is possible, while not probable.
There has also been talk of the Gunners going after Dynamo Moscow striker Aleksandr Kokorin. Nevertheless, if Wenger and the Arsenal brass can not sign a proven player as suggested above, the club should not make a move. Would Kokorin be an upgrade over current Arsenal forwards Olivier Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck? Most would say no. Wenger has suggested numerous times this summer that he will not buy a striker just to buy a striker. The Frenchman is willing to spend the money if a player is made available that would significantly help the club. It seems as though it’s a big-time player or stand pat for Wenger and Arsenal.
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