Arsenal have no chance of signing Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema this summer.
This is according to Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who broke the news to Arsenal fans on Twitter on Thursday morning.
Balague wrote: “For those asking: no chance whatsoever of Benzema leaving Real Madrid this summer (so no way he will go to Arsenal).
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Arsenal fans began to get more than a little excited earlier this week after Benzema posted a cryptic message on Instagram, alongside a photo of himself on a private jet.
Rumours that Benzema was on his way to London subsequently spread like wildfire, and this increased excitement levels amongst the Gunners’ faithful.
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Benzema did travel to Shanghai
However, it eventually transpired that Benzema had travelled with the rest of his teammates to Shanghai after all.
Optimistic Arsenal fans were still holding out hope that Benzema could still end up at the Emirates Stadium - but Balague has confirmed that Real Madrid will keep the France international at the Bernabeu for the upcoming season.
Benzema has admirers at Real Madrid
It was always going to prove very difficult for any interested club to prise Benzema away from Real Madrid, whose president Florentino Perez is a huge fan of the former Lyon striker.
Cristiano Ronaldo also loves playing alongside the unselfish Frenchman and Real Madrid are currently trying to do everything possible to keep the three-time Ballon d’Or winner happy after replacing Carlo Ancelotti with Rafael Benitez this summer.
Benitez appeared to have some doubts over Benzema when he first arrived from Napoli - speculative reports claimed he wanted to replace the world-class No. 9 with targetman Fernando Llorente - but named the 27-year-old as one of the club’s best players during a press conference last week.
Real Madrid will not sign another striker
Real Madrid will not sign a new striker before the summer transfer window closes on September 1.
When Benzema is injured, suspended or simply in need of a rest, Benitez will use either Gareth Bale or Jesé as the team’s centre-forward.
The Spanish coach is also prepared to call on the highly-rated Borja Mayoral when required. The 18-year-old Spaniard is poised to sign a new contract with Real Madrid Castilla but, like teammate Martin Ødegaard, will be called up for first-team duties when necessary.
Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott?
As for Arsenal, it seems certain that Arsene Wenger will persist with Olivier Giroud for another season.
However, the veteran French coach may also give Theo Walcott more opportunities in his favoured centre-forward position after an impressive showing in pre-season.
Arsenal fans: how do you feel about the Karim Benzema news? Can you win the Premier League title without him? Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott? Have your say on these issues in the comments box below!