The Arsenal Affair

The Arsenal Affair

Monday, 20 July 2015

Let Us Down Gently Please Karim

Why do we do this to ourselves? Every summer we torture ourselves with a will they, wont they scenario that distracts us from everything else we should be doing. Yet there are many variables that make Karim Benzema's potential move to Arsenal seem like a genuine option. The door still feels slightly enough ajar that we can dare to dream of Benzema holding up a Gunners shirt and becoming the statement signing that Wenger has acclimatised us to in the last two years.

The question of Olivier Giroud being good enough has divided Arsenal fans down the middle, but regardless of your pro-Giroud/anti-Giroud stance, everyone can agree adding the quality of a player like Benzema would propel Arsenal to that next level. The difficulties are prising him away from Real Madrid. For once, the price may not be an issue. Wenger rates the player and has proven he will pay big money for players of exceptional talent. The problem is whether Madrid decide to let him go or not.


Rafa Benitez was installed as Real Madrid Head Coach in June and it appears he wants to change the playing style of Los Blancos. Reports state Rafa wants Cristiano Ronaldo to spearhead the attack, allowing Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez more room to roam. This would insinuate Benzema would be subject to restricted game time. The Frenchman is thought to want to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and fight for his place, but the Spanish giants maybe tempted to strike a deal considering the bench is no place for a player with such high market value.

At 27-years-old the Madrid hierarchy may believe now is the ideal time to sell their star forward. At this stage of his career his value is more likely to decrease then increase. Madrid have also been negotiating to bring Fernando Llorente back to Spain, it seems likely they will see him and Jese as back-up strikers. Rafa may even be tempted to give experience to the next generation waiting in the wings, Borja Mayoral is identified as the latest prodigy.

If Benitez really does persist with Ronaldo as Centre Forward, a move for Benzema could suddenly spring to life with serious conviction.

Arsene Wenger has followed the French forward's career closely since his days in the Lyon youth academy. From a young age, Benzema's potency in front of goal was clear for all to see and he quickly ascended through Lyon youth ranks and made a home in the first team at the age of 16-years-old.It wasn't long before the Frenchman made a name for himself as one of Europe's top young strikers. Wenger tried to pounce, but could not convince Karim to resist the allure of Real Madrid. His career in Spain has been a fight to prove himself from start to finish, fighting off the challenges of Gonzalo Higuain and Raul. His hard work has culminated in a La Liga title win, two Copa Del Rey trophies and a career defining UEFA Champions League triumph in 2014.


It is likely that any swoop will take place around the tail-end of the transfer window. This will give Benzema and Madrid enough time to figure out if he fits into the team this season. A telling sign that may get the ball rolling will be if Madrid suddenly sign a winger who would cover Ronaldo. Likely targets could be Marco Reus or Antoine Griezmann. Arsene Wenger has been a keen deadline day mover over the years, understanding that desperation can set in as time runs out and demands suddenly drop.

Another element to consider is the unpredictability of Madrid President, Florentino Perez, who appears to make the big decisions at the club without consultation of club officials or head coach. If Perez decides that Benzema is no longer part of Plan A, he could sell him in an instant, as he has done in previous seasons with Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil. Arsenal have clearly benefited from Perez's volatility before and will hope to take advantage of this once again.

In reality, this transfer is achievable for Arsenal, but in order to preserve our sanity, let us believe that Karim is going to let us down gently with a kiss on the cheek and a 'don't worry it's me not you' cliché. Pecimism is the only way to plan for a broken heart and we can all admit we're in deep waters with Karim Benzema already. Let us down gently please Karim.

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