Read our Spanish football expert Alvaro Morales’ take on the Benzema transfer saga…
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, who is expected to cost as much as £27m, reports the Mirror.
In my opinion, this would cause as much disruption and harm to the Gunners’ title charge as it would good.
Arsenal have more striking options than they realise…
Arsenal currently have Olivier Giroud as their only recognised, fit forward, with the hapless Nicklas Bendtner in reserve.
Granted, Bendtner is far from being good enough even as a backup option, but the Gunners do have Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott returning imminently. Both these players openly discussed their preference of playing a centre-forward role last year, and scored just as many goals as Giroud. While the Frenchman bagged 17 in all competitions, Walcott scored 21 and Podolski scored 16.
If Arsene Wenger wants to continue with his 4-3-3 formation (as he should do with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla in attacking midfield), a fit Podolski and a fit Walcott seem more than capable backup options.
Arsenal have lasted so far without them, and currently top the Premier League table, so surely once Podolski and Walcott return – pressure will be eased from the in form Giroud anyway?
Olivier Giroud is a better player than Karim Benzema…
If Arsenal paid £27m for a striker, fans would surely demand he be given game time. In the current formation, this would mean dropping Giroud, who has been absolutely essential to Arsenal’s play this year.
He drops deep, and links up play with the midfielders excellently, but also provides an option in the air and running behind the defence. Even when he hasn’t scored, he’s still been effective for the Gunners.
Benzema on the other hand, while being a superb finisher, doesn’t work nearly as hard. He also does nearly all his work in the penalty box, meaning Arsenal would have to play for him, rather than with him.
Although Benzema is a more world-renowned performer, he’s now lost his place in France’s starting team to Giroud. Essentially, Arsenal’s starting XI would not be improving massively, and while the squad would of course become immediately stronger, it could disrupt the rhythm and form of the current stars performing so well.
If you’re going to sign him, don’t do it in January…
Rarely, has a striker come in to a club in January and started scoring goals immediately – especially in the Premier League. In fact, rarely does a player get signed in January and have a genuine impact on a title winning side.
The fact that Arsenal are topping the table, shows you that there isn’t much wrong with the current set-up. Arsene Wenger should focus all his attentions on maximising his current squad, and pushing them towards the title. With Podolski and Giroud returning, they can provide the sufficient backup to Olivier Giroud.
Benzema will disrupt a winning team, and no doubt take a length of time to settle in himself. If Arsenal waited until the summer, they could slowly integrate the striker into the squad, and a full pre-season would help him become accustomed to their style of play. By recruiting him in January, Arsenal are simply not giving Benzema the chance he needs to succeed.
A player like Demba Ba, who would be prepared to sit on the bench and has scored Premier League goals in the past, would be a far more intelligent signing.