Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are not looking to sign Karim Benzema, and claims to be at a loss as to why such speculation continues.
The Gunners are building a squad capable of finally launching a sustained bid for the Premier League title, an honour they have not lifted since 2004. The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have been signed for big money in recent years, whilst youth products including Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin continue to flourish and, in Petr Cech, they finally have a top-class goalkeeper.
Combined with successive FA Cup and FA Community Shield wins – the latter coming against reigning champions Chelsea on Sunday afternoon – optimism is high at the Emirates Stadium that their wait to be crowned kings of England could soon be over. However, most of these supporters would also tell you that one ingredient remains lacking in their starting XI: a genuine world-class striker.
Despite his increasing good form since his arrival from Montpellier in 2012, doubts remain over the inclusion of Olivier Giroud in such a bracket. And whilst Sanchez showed his form in front of goal with 25 goals in all competitions last season, he is not regarded as a traditional centre-forward. The same could be said of Theo Walcott, who also has a worrying track record when it comes to injuries.
There doesn’t appear to be an obvious solution in the transfer window this summer, but the name of Benzema continues to be linked with a move to Arsenal. Such a signing would be a huge statement of intent from Wenger, but when asked about his reported interest in the 27-year-old Real Madrid striker, he said of his French compatriot: “No, honestly no. I don’t know who brings that up.”
Although it is a fair assumption that Arsenal are progressing, the fact remains they finished third last season and 12 points behind champions Chelsea. Their London rivals have signed striker Radamel Falcao, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and young midfielder Nathan since the end of last season, whilst Wenger has added to his squad just once, albeit with the fine capture of Cech.