Arsenal should swoop for Martinez over Benzema in January

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Arsenal are heavily linked this week with a January swoop for unsettled Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

The 25-year-old France international has come under heated criticism in the Spanish capital for some underwhelming performances whilst his compatriot Olivier Giroud is firing on all cylinders for the Gunners and Les Blues.

Giroud scored a brace last week in France’s 6-0 thrashing of Australia in which Giroud was given the nod to start as Benzema was benched by France boss Didier Deschamps. It looks increasingly likely Giroud will start ahead of Benzema again this week against Finland.

Arsenal are currently a little over reliant on Giroud who is the only senior recognized centre-forward at the club – although wantaway Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner found the twice for Denmark on Friday, incidentally.

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Manager Arsene Wenger had intended to bring in a centre-forward to compete with Giroud all the summer but failed attempts to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Benzema’s former teammate in Madrid, Luis Suarez, the man most linked with replacing him, and Chelsea’s Demba Ba saw playmaker Mesut Ozil arrive the Emirates as the only purchase this summer.

Whilst all and sundry are linking the North Londoners with interest in luring Benzema to the Emirates in January, I would suspect the Frenchman will want to avoid competing so directly with Giroud at club level as he hopes to gain regular access to first-team football ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been linked with potential interest in FC Porto striker Colombian Jackson Martinez who has been in fine form himself so far this season – the 27-year-old who came in to replace compatriot Radamel Falcao when he left for Athletico Madrid has already scored 7 goals in 7 appearances in the Primeira Liga for Porto after a sensational season last term scoring 26 goals in 30 league appearances in his first full season in Portugal.

Martinez was heavily linked with several possible switches to Premier League clubs this summer – the likes of North London rivals Tottenham, as well as Chelsea and Liverpool – but nothing of the sort came to fruition.

Whilst Benzema would be a quality addition to Arsene Wenger’s squad, his career trajectory is downwards at present and, conversely, Martinez’ is moving upwards. Arsenal had attempted to sign Luis Suarez who is the man most linked with replacing Benzema at the Bernabeu – if the Gunners want a frontman of that kind of form and quality, they ought to be looking at a player like Jackson Martinez before they look at Karim Benzema.

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