Alan Shearer still doesn’t believe Arsenal have what it takes to win the title this season, but is prepared to change his mind if they sign Karim Benzema.
When the Gunners lost to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, there was no shortage of pundits who claimed they would struggle for a top-four finish come May. However, a remarkable run of eight wins and a draw from their following nine games saw them top the table ahead of their traditional rivals for the title.
This run came to an end, though, on Sunday afternoon, when a Robin van Persie header was enough to give champions Manchester United a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. This has now inevitably led to the resurfacing of old accusations about Arsene Wenger’s side falling a little short when it comes to getting over the finishing line for honours.
Arsenal have, after all, failed to win a trophy since they beat United in the 2005 FA Cup final, and were last crowned champions in 2004. Former England and Newcastle United legend Shearer doesn’t think they will wrestle the title from Manchester this season, although he is willing to review this opinion if they lure Benzema during the January window.
“I’ve tended to stay with what I said earlier in the season that, up to now, I don’t think Arsenal will win it, but if they went out and made a big statement come January and were able to get someone like Benzema and carried on the form…” he told talkSPORT. “They have had a fantastic start, you can’t deny that, but if you were to give them a world class centre-forward like Benzema then people might have to start revising their opinion.
Benzema made his name whilst in his homeland with Lyon, where his form led to Real Madrid paying £35million for his signature in the summer of 2009. Although the 25-year-old helped Los Blancos to the title in 2012, he has struggled to find his very best form, which has led to suggestions his employers would be willing to cash in on him.
The France international is determined to succeed at the Bernabeu, where he remains under contract until 2015, but he has been linked with Arsenal in recent weeks. Indeed, just this Monday John Cross of the Mirror reported that Wenger is lining up a move for his compatriot in January, whilst The Express claimed on Wednesday that an offer of £27million is being lined up as the Londoners finally look to end their trophy drought.