Just how close did Karim Benzema come to joining Arsenal from Real Madrid over the summer transfer window?
About as close as Tom Brady is to winning a poll of NFL fans nationwide as the “most likeable player in the NFL” right now.
So, in short, it was never going to happen.
Speaking to journalists while on international duty with the French national team, Benzema told Telefoot that he is “happy” at Spanish giants Real Madrid and the man who has four years left on his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu had no intention of joining the Gunners.
“There was nothing in the talk of a transfer away from Madrid,” Benzema said. “I’m happy at my current club, it’s the best in the world. I’ll continue to work here and be happy where I am.”
Gunners fans, do you now feel a little silly about getting so excited about cryptic Instagram posts from Benzema?
The 27-year-old would be exactly the kind of player Arsenal need up front, with his ability to play as a target man but provide lethal finishes — he has 134 goals in 282 games for Real — necessary a huge upgrade on their current options of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck. But if Benzema doesn’t want to leave Real, then obviously he was never an option for Arsene Wenger to buy. No matter how many times he was linked with a move to the Emirates.
Following the transfer window closing on Sept. 1 and Arsenal becoming the only club in Europe’s top five leagues to sign a senior outfield player, Wenger has tried to convince fans there was nobody out there who was worth buying. Following an unspectacular start to the season which has seen them garner seven points from a possible 12, you can’t help but think if Arsenal will ever get to that next level and seriously challenge for the PL title once again, instead of just settling for third or fourth place.
Finishing in the top four of the PL for 17-straight seasons is no mean feat, but with the finances in place to afford most, if not any, player in the world, you have to question why star names continue to be elusive for the north London club. That, more than anything, is what’s stopping them from challenging for titles domestically and in Europe.