Why Arsenal have zero chance of signing Karim Benzema from Real Madrid

Karim Benzema France

Karim Benzema has once again been linked with Arsenal, but he remains a vital player for Real Madrid.

"£40m Karim cracker" was the back-page headline from the The Sun on Friday, with the English newspaper convinced that Arsenal are preparing what would be a sensational swoop for the French star.

Sensational of course, if The Gunners can manage to realise ambitions of a move at long last. Ambitions which go back far beyond this summer, with Benzema a name repeatedly linked with Arsenal for a number of years.

His capture would certainly be a massive transfer coup, on the same scale as those of past arrivals Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez. However, like Christmas or Easter, it seems reports of Benzema heading to Arsenal are pretty much now an annual event.

There's absolutely no doubting that Arsene Wenger is a keen admirer of the 27-year-old and what he could offer Arsenal. Indeed, the French coach would welcome his fellow countryman to the Emirates Stadium with arms wide open. But it's a welcome that doesn't appear likely to happen any time soon.

Why the Benzema speculation now?

Much of the speculation linking Benzema with a possible move to Arsenal seems to come from a level of uncertainty in Spain, over what role he'll play in the plans of new manager, Rafa Benitez.

While the former Liverpool and Napoli boss has yet to reveal his preferred tactical blueprint for Real Madrid, happy to utilise pre-season to try a variety of formations, it's still evident that Benzema will play a key role within his plans.

Some debate has been caused by training sessions, in which Benitez has examined the option of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, paired as the attacking duo in a 4-4-2 formation. Just as often though, the manager has also utilised his more favoured 4-2-3-1 with Benzema as the tip of the lance at centre-forward.

Nevertheless and regardless of the speculation and debate, it seems perfectly clear that for now, Benzema remains a key figure in the plans of Benitez. This in itself would appear to nullify any suggestions Real Madrid are getting ready to sell the Frenchman.

What does Benzema offer?

Since heading to the Santiago Bernabeu from Lyon in 2009, Benzema has netted 133 goals in 311 appearances, offering consistency in not just the number of goals he scores and frequency he gets them, but also with his overall play and contribution to the team.

Statistically, according to data from whoscored.com during the 2014-15 season, Benzema ranked as the fourth best performer in the Real Madrid team. He was also the second highest scorer, inevitably behind the goal machine that is Cristiano Ronaldo, but still ahead of James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale.

Beyond the goals, what Benzema also offers is creativity. He was the third highest for assists last season, demonstrating that his involvement in play is a key ingredient he offers the team. All told, he is a complete player that Real Madrid would undoubtedly find difficult to replace, and not for the lack of trying with a variety of alternatives over recent years.

Higuain, Morata, even Adebayor and Chicharito have all fallen by the wayside, when managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Anceoitti considered them as alternative options, whilst Benzema remains at Real Madrid, who have yet to find anyone who can offer quite what he does.

What are the realistic chances of Arsenal getting Benzema?

For Arsenal to successfully lure Benzema away from Real Madrid, now or at any time in the future, his current club would need to have someone of equal or greater stature, lined up to take his place.

Right now, there's no such player available on the transfer market, and unless Benitez is planning a complete change of approach in his attacking plans, it just doesn't seem likely Real Madrid will sell such an important player.

Speculation in Spain has linked Juventus striker Fernando Llorente as a possible candidate, but that seems highly unlikely. Real Madrid could bring in the former Athletic Club Bilbao target-man, but he would never be more than an alternative or backup option. He would never be a direct replacement for Benzema.

Real Madrid already have the only direct competitor for Benzema, in the shape of 22-year-old Jese Rodriguez, who Benitez has been looking at carefully as an alternative attacking option. Although he's a very talented player, he simply doesn't offer what the Frenchman can, or have the experience needed for such a key role.

"I don't know where this comes from, but it's not happening at the moment, no." Arsene Wenger responded, in comments noted by the Daily Mail, when asked about the reports linking Arsenal with Benzema.

In short, Arsenal fans might be excited to see their club linked with Benzema once more, Wenger may remain a big fan of the striker, but reality would suggest there's zero chance he'll be leaving Real Madrid this summer.

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