Arsenal are on the verge of missing out on one of their main transfer targets after Real Madrid agreed to offer Karim Benzema a new long-term contract, reports El Confidencial.
The French striker has been a perennial target for Arsene Wenger and had been strongly linked with a move to north London as Real Madrid considered a move for both Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez.
Wenger had been granted a £100 million transfer budget to reinvest in the squad this summer and it was widely believed that a large chunk would be used to acquire Benzema. However, despite being subjected to boos from the Bernabeu crowd earlier this season, the 25-year-old has earned a reprieve after experiencing an upturn in form.
Although Benzema remains unprolific in comparison to teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, it is believed the Ballon d'Or winner requested the striker remain in the squad because of the pair's complementing styles.
Florentino Perez has always shown a willingness to keep Ronaldo happy and, as a result, Real Madrid have offered Benzema a massive four-year contract worth €135,000-a-week.
The offer is believed to double the player's current wages and, after Benzema declared a desire to remain in the Spanish capital, a move to Arsenal now looks off the cards.
Now Wenger must look to alternative targets as he attempts to give Olivier Giroud something to think about next season. Giroud was a influential presence for Arsenal last season, but was heavily relied upon as Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo continued to disappoint.
So who could Arsenal be signing now Benzema is set to stay at Real Madrid?
Click the 'begin slideshow' button to see a full list of potential alternative targets for the Gunners
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