€40m Arsenal target: I'm no Giroud understudy

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has warned Arsenal's Olivier Giroud he will not settle for being a back-up.

BBC pundit Alan Shearer claimed at the weekend Arsenal needed to do one simple thing to win the Premier League; sign Karim Benzema.

Even if Arsenal did manage to buy the striker from Real Madrid, clearly keeping him happy would not be all that simple.

Benzema and Gunners forward Olivier Giroud are locked in a selection battle for France, with coach Didier Deschamps like Arsene Wenger preferring to play with a lone striker.

Benzema had long been the number one, but Giroud took over for recent qualifiers - but he was unable to transfer his prolific club form to the international stage.

Now with Benzema firing again, doubts have begun to emerge over Giroud - with claims from his own teammate Laurent Koscielny that he is tiring.

Benzema is in bolshy mood amid his return to form, he has four goals and four assists in his last four games, in comparison to Giroud's one assist and no goals in that period.

Being careful to toe the party line, in an interview to L'Equipe he said: 

"The coach has confidence in me, but if he decides not to start myself, it's not a problem for me. I'm looking for team. But I'm no Olivier Giroud understudy. I am a person and I am a player of the team of France."

For such a crucial World Cup play-off, Benzema has to accept whichever decision is made by Deschams and roll with it. At club level it may be a different matter.

Arsenal have been linked with signing him, most recently by The Mirror two days ago, but if they are serious about him, manager Arsene Wenger will have to work out what he wants from him.

Do they want a back-up for Giroud? A player who can push Giroud out of the starting line-up, or a bit of both. If he does sign him then keeping both strikers happy may be a full-time job in itself, which isn't to say the Gunners should not go for it, but it will require careful man-management to ensure it is a success short-term and long-term.

image: © Jan S0L0

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch