Arsenal are preparing to launch a £40million bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema next week, according to The Sun.
Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of the France international and has been continually linked with a move for several years.
A deal looked more than possible in 2013 when BBC journalist David Ornstein claimed the Gunners were chasing Benzema and Angel di Maria. To everyone's surprise, Mesut Ozil was the Real Madrid star who eventually made the move to north London.
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While the ship has long sailed with regards to Di Maria, Arsenal believe they finally have the opportunity they need to buy Benzema.
That belief has been inspired by Rafa Benitez's arrival. The Spanish boss is believed to be prepared to ditch Benzema and play either Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo upfront.
Speculation intensified after Bale appeared to play in a central role during a pre-season session, suggesting Benzema, who scored 22 goals for Real Madrid last season, is surplus to requirements.
Cutting it close
As always, Wenger is not willing to be held to ransom over a transfer fee, but is prepared to push Arsenal's transfer record, £42.5m paid for Ozil in 2013, very close.
The Frenchman is seemingly confident of coaxing Benzema to the Emirates as he is prepared to start the season with Olivier Giroud if Real Madrid try to push the asking price beyond £40m.
That means a transfer could go down to the final day of the transfer window as exactly as Ozil's did. Real Madrid historically like to do business late in the window anyway.
Arsenal's signing of the summer
Arsenal fans have been impatiently waiting for news of their apparent "signing of the summer" after the well-connected Muzzi Ozcan claimed Wenger was in talks to sign a major star.
The renowned transfer fixer has been calling deals before they hit headlines all summer, but has so far refused to name the player Arsenal are trying to sign.
Benzema was a popular choice amongst fans guessing with others also suggesting Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain and Lyon star Alexander Lacazette were in Wenger's viewfinder.
Would Karim Benzema be an upgrade on Olivier Giroud or a waste of money?
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