Arsenal could have to spend big to land Karim Benzema this summer, with reports suggesting that Real Madrid would want up to £25 million for the striker.
This is according to The Metro, who report that Arsenal - long-term admirers of Benzema - will try to buy the French international once again this summer with Real reportedly willing to sell him at the end of the season.
26-year-old Benzema has been with the Spanish giants for almost five years now, joining Real Madrid from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon as another star addition during that expensive summer of 2009 when the club also completed blockbuster moves for Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazilian playmaker Kaka.
While not always an extremely popular figure with fans at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has largely been a success with Real, particularly this season as he has appeared to thrive as the figurehead of a devastating three-pronged attack that also features the imperious Ronaldo and summer signing Gareth Bale.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is widely expected to be in the market for at least one new striker this summer and will surely not neglect to purchase one given that the hapless Nicklas Bendtner - chief back-up to first-choice frontman Olivier Giroud - is set to depart the Emirates Stadium when his contract finally expires this summer.
And although young Yaya Sanogo has shown glimpses of potential since joining Arsenal from Auxerre on a free transfer last summer, the 21-year-old - who started for the Gunners during their recent FA Cup semi-final victory over Wigan at Wembley but was demoted to the substitute's bench for the clash against Hull on Sunday - is still learning at the highest level and cannot be relied upon as the only alternative.
Benzema - an international teammate of Giroud's who has netted 17 goals in 32 La Liga appearances this season - would certainly appear to fit the bill as more than adequate competition for the former Montpellier man.
However, with Wenger - last year's surprising signing of German playmaker Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid aside - notoriously pragmatic and cautious in the transfer market, it remains to be seen if he would be willing to pay the seemingly sizable fee it will take to persuade Real Madrid into selling.