Arsenal are set to submit a bid in the region of £35 million for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
This is according to a Goal.com exclusive, which claims Benzema is interested in moving from the Bernabeu to the Emirates Stadium if the two clubs are able to agree a deal.
The report adds that Real Madrid will only consider selling the France international if they can sign a new top-level striker to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is one potential option for Los Blancos, who sacked manager Carlo Ancelotti on Monday.
Interestingly, it’s also understood that Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for their current first-choice centre-forward Olivier Giroud in order to make room for his international teammate Benzema.
Giroud, 28, has scored 18 goals in 34 appearances this term - a reasonable return - but arguably falls short of the world-class bracket in which Benzema belongs.
Benzema would shine at Arsenal
Benzema has scored 22 goals in 46 appearances for Real Madrid this term - the fifth successive season in which he’s netted 20 goals or more - but it’s his superb link-up play with the likes of Ronaldo and Bale which has made him such a dangerous weapon for the Spanish giants in recent years.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will be acutely aware of the damage Benzema could cause in the Premier League, flanked by the likes of Alexis Sanchez, former Real Madrid teammate Mesut Ozil and, provided he stays in north London, Theo Walcott.
But in order to sign the former Lyon star, Arsenal must first convince Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to sell one of his favourite players.
Arsenal must convince Perez and Benitez
Marca reported last year that Benzema had one foot out of the Bernabeu prior to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, but it was Perez who ensured the striker would continue playing for Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are set to appoint former Liverpool and Valencia manager Rafael Benitez as their new manager - potentially as early as this week - and the Spaniard could ultimately decide whether Benzema stays or goes.
Wenger has been on the hunt for a world-class striker since the summer of 2013, when he urged Arsenal to submit a formal offer for Uruguay international Luis Suarez.
Benzema has also been on Wenger’s radar during that time, but only now does it look remotely possible that the deal could happen.
Arsenal fans: should Arsene Wenger replace Olivier Giroud with Karim Benzema this summer? Have your say in the comments below!