Karim Benzema will cost Arsenal £45million as Real Madrid target Sergio Aguero
Published 08/08/2015 | 10:48
So, this Karim Benzema transfer still doesn't seem to have happened, despite the collective will of Arsenal fans across the planet.
Still, the fact that the (pretty well respected) Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli reporting that the deal would be finalised on Friday was proved ever so slightly wrong has not deterred others from sticking their necks out to speculate on perhaps the most speculated-on deal of the summer.
The Spanish newspaper As is reporting that Arsenal will need to pay around £45million to secure Benzema, whose future at Real looks uncertain to say the least.
He has already been ruled out of the opening game of the La Liga season on August 23 with a leg injury, which has led some to speculate that could clear the way for Arsenal to do a deal before the end of the transfer window.
A fee of £45million would break Arsenal's transfer record, which currently stands at the £42.5million they forked out for Mesut Ozil two summers ago, but would still probably represent good value given the club's need for a new striker as they attempt to mount a more credible title challenge this season.
And another Spanish website, Fichajes, suggests that the replacement for Benzema at the Bernabeu will be Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
Apparently Real are prepared to pay £63.7m to sign the Argentina international, a long-term target for the club even though to all intents and purposes he seems reasonably settled at Eastlands.
And Giulianelli has decided to chance his reputation again, reporting on Twitter that the player is likely to arrive at the Emirates to complete his move on Sunday after a productive meeting between the two clubs too place during the day on Friday.
What cannot be denied is that a move for Benzema by Arsenal would surely turn what looks a very good team into an exceptional one. Thierry Henry, probably the last great striker Arsenal had - with a nod to Robin van Persie's two decent seasons - thinks that the Frenchman's arrival would be transformative.
He told talkSPORT: "Olivier Giroud alone as a striker there – you can't win the league, you need another type of striker.
"I think Olivier Giroud is doing really well - he went on to score 14 goals in 18 games, that's amazing - but sometimes you need a different type of striker and I think that, if they can get Benzema, suddenly they are a real title contender and also in the Champions League."