Arsenal shouldn't bother with Benzema

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Arsenal are undoubtedly in the market for a new striker when the transfer window reopens in January after failing to secure quality cover for lone forward Olivier Giroud in the summer, but should their search end with Real Madrid's predator Karim Benzema?

The French international has been persistently linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks, with less than 18 months to run on his contract at the Bernabeu. Arsenal have already raided Madrid once this season for club-record signing Mesut Ozil, but Benzema is a very different proposition and not necessarily the kind of forward need to aid the search for silverware in North London.

Benzema is without question a player of immense talent, possessing a poacher's instinct that has seen him preferred to Gonzalo Higuain as Madrid's leading marksman by new Real boss Carlo Ancelotti, but it has not always been champagne and sunshine for the striker in the Spanish capital.

Often accused of being lazy in a lone front role for both club and country, Benzema has played second fiddle to the quite remarkable model of consistency that is Cristiano Ronaldo at Madrid, reaching 20 goals in La Liga just once since swapping Lyon for Madrid in 2009.

Arsenal's fine start to the campaign has seen Olivier Giroud banish the disappointment of a failed bid for Luis Suarez in style, scoring eight times in all competitions. Giroud gives the Gunners far more than that goal tally though, providing a focal from which their star-studded cast of playmakers including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla can dictate play and probe with purpose in the final third.

Giroud needs help to manage a workload which Arsenal fans will hope leads to a fight on multiple fronts at the business end of the campaign, but surely signing Benzema would demote Giroud to the role of impact substitute or worse still perennial bench-warmer?

Benzema's ability to retain possession and hold up the ball in attack has no doubt improved over the last 18 months, but Wenger would be best served looking for a traditional centre-forward with the strength and stature to match Giroud's willingness to work hard and link play with £42.4m man Ozil.

Wenger may have broken the habit of a lifetime by spending big on Ozil but that purchase should become the exception not the rule, as the vastly experienced boss has said himself on more than one occasion.

If Arsenal are serious about maintaining their title challenge they could do without the distraction of another lengthy transfer saga in January, with Madrid extremely unlikely to let Benzema go without signing a ready-made replacement first.

The Gunners now have the financial muscle to compete with their Premier League rivals for top players but can ill-afford another drawn-out transfer chase such as the Suarez saga, which saw them miss out on a prime target despite being informed that a cheeky £40.1m bid would force Liverpool to part with their prized asset.

Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke is a player of immense potential with the kind of imposing physical presence that would help Arsenal maintain the style of play they currently enjoy with Giroud leading the line, at a similar price to the £27.5m price being quoted for Giroud.

Edin Dzeko and Fernando Llorente are also more short-term alternatives that could keep Arsenal in the title hunt should injuries strike after Christmas, without shattering a transfer kitty that would be better used next summer with months to identify and secure long-term targets at a reasonable price.

The pressure may be on to build on a fine start to the season, but Wenger should maintain his principles and prioritise keeping a winning side happy rather than breaking the bank for further marquee signings in January.

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