Blow for Arsenal as Rafa Benitez confirms Karim Benzema stay
Arsenal's pursuit of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was dealt a major blow on Monday, with manager Rafel Benitez confirming he expects the striker to stay.
Arsene Wenger is known to be an admirer of Benzema, but a summer of speculation looks like it will come to nothing.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Benitez emphasised the importance of keeping his squad together.
"It's that having alternatives in any position which always helps," Benitez said
"For example, the middle of the park - you have a midfielder who is better with containment and another with passing.
"Depending on the match, you can take advantage of one or the other. In the case of the striker, the same.
"Benzema is a great player. And one of my ideas this year is that he exceeds the barrier of 20-25 goals. In that, I have put a lot of confidence."
The Frenchman himself also appeared to pour cold water on a move to the Emirates with a post on Instagram.
He captioned a smiling picture of himself "Come back to Madrid... #work" suggesting he will not be leaving this summer.
Wenger may turn his attention instead to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani if Benzema proves to be unobtainable.