Arsenal's chances of signing Karim Benzema appear to have taken a hit after Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez confirmed he is in his plans for this coming season.
Speaking to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Benitez also said he wants the striker to kick on this coming season.
He said: "Benzema is a great player. And one of my ideas this year is that he exceeds the barrier of 20-25 goals. In that, I have put a lot of confidence."
Plans change and can be influence by big money offers, but Real could not afford to let the French international striker go without signing a replacement, and adding one of Benzema's quality or better would be highly difficult late in the transfer window.
The Daily Star had previously claimed over the weekend that the striker would sign for Arsenal this coming week, but that already optimistic viewpoint from an Arsenal perspective now looks even more unlikely.
Arsenal have won one of two Premier League games this season, and have so far only signed Petr Cech from Chelsea. In two previous summers they have spent huge figures on Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez but are yet to really splash out this time around.