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'Of course I'm staying' - £40 million Arsenal target Benzema earlier this summer

Arsenal have been linked with signing Karim Benzema, but if they did snap him up, it would be quite a contradiction. Read on...

The Telegraph reported in the wake of Arsenal's win over Fenerbahce that Arsenal were to bid £40 million for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

The Frenchman has a deal until 2015 at the club, and just on that same day - reports had emerged that he was set to enter talks with Madrid about extending that deal.

AS reported: "Karim Benzema is happy at Real Madrid and is not even considering the possibility of moving to another club. The Frenchman is aware that, this season more than ever, there is significant responsibility resting on his shoulders – and he wants to respond with goals.

"His optimism is shared in the Madrid directors’ box, with a deal being put in place to renew the 25-year-old’s contract, which runs out on 30 June 2015. 

"The negotiations are expected to be straightforward, with a new deal finalised before the end of the year."

Which makes the Telegraph's claims that same evening that Arsenal have been in touch with Madrid 'and are encouraged that a deal for Benzema could be feasible.'... a little at odds with one another.

Benzema struggled at times to meet the high demands of Jose Mourinho, battling with Gonzalo Higuain and forever overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo, but with the Argentine gone, he is the main man.

For now. Gareth Bale's arrival could move Ronaldo to the centre, and Benzema to the bench, so there could be some credence in the claims.

But to dig a little deeper, you can only look at Benzema's intentions, and his current statements earlier this year. And he has been quite adamant, whether directly or via his agent, that he is not leaving.

Back in June at the end of the season he was quizzed on his future, and said: "Of course I’m staying. I’m happy at Real Madrid and I’m not going to leave. I’m eager to win titles, but I think we all need to disconnect a bit.

“Keep supporting us as always and next season we’ll give our all and try to win domestic titles and of course the Champions League.”

Even earlier in the year, in March, his agent stated:  "Whether Mourinho quits or not, Benzema will remain at Madrid, at no point has Karim wanted to join PSG and they have never contacted us. He is at the best football club in the world."

And just a month ago, when further rumours came about, another denial: "Benzema is staying in Madrid. There is nothing at all with Milan, and I have nothing more to say about this."

There's more. Just a fortnight ago, Benzema was glowing about the prospect of working even more closelyt with French legend Zinedine Zidane, who joined the frontline coaching staff at the Bernabeu for the first time.

He said: "He’s been my role model since I was a child. He’s a great player. It’s good for the team to have someone like him on the bench. He’s friendly with the players and has a lot of experience.”

It all builds up a picture of a player who is very happy at his club, and a contract extension certainly looks more likely than a transfer.

Arsenal are within their rights to try, and with such large fees being exchanged for Gareth Bale, a deal may end up being a mutually beneficial arrangement, but Benzema might just take quite a bit of convincing that the Emirates is where his future lies.

What do you think? Do Arsenal have a chance of getting Benzema?

image: © Jan S0L0

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