Wenger turns to Benzema in attempt to bring top striker to Arsenal

Arsene Wenger will look to exploit Real Madrid’s need to raise cash to balance the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur by offering £40m for striker Karim Benzema, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Benzema is the latest forward to be targeted by the Gunners boss after he was unsuccessful in signing Benzema’s former Madrid teammate, Gonzalo Higuain, and Liverpool attacker Luis Suarez. Higuain instead joined Napoli while Liverpool insisted Suarez would not be sold and Wenger has now conceded defeat in his pursuit of the Uruguay international.

The newspaper adds that Wenger retains an interest in Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney but feels the Old Trafford club would put up such a fight that with time running out of the current transfer window, it is unlikely a deal would be wrapped up before the September 2 deadline.

A number of factors could work in Wenger’s favour in relation to Benzema, the Telegraph claim. As well as the imminent world record signing of Bale, the presence of Alvaro Morata, a highly-rated Spain youth international striker, means Madrid are not stridently opposed to selling Benzema. There is also the possibility Carlo Ancelotti, the Madrid manager, would be willing to use Cristiano Ronaldo as a central attacker – particularly with Bale available to play on the left of midfield.

Benzema is also in the final two years of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, and despite having been a Madrid player for the past four years, is only 25, which means he has a great deal of experience of playing at a high level, but is young enough to maintain his quality for the duration.

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