Arsenal 'not the team' who made €50m enquiry, could it be Chelsea?

Mystery remains over the Premier League club who made a €50m enquiry for Karim Benzema.

Spanish football agent Francois Gallardo set tongues wagging a fortnight ago when he claimed a mystery English club had made an approach with a view to signing Karim Benzema.

He claimed a proposal of around €45 - €50 million was being talked about to lodge with Real Madrid, a club he regularly has dealings with.

"Next week, after the Clasico, my team and I will be in Madrid. A person from England (will) come to see us and then call to the offices of the Bernabéu to meet him. They want to inquire about Benzema.

"The English team will want him in the winter but, if not possible, to get him back in the summer. The offered amount will be around 45 to 50 million and is from a club at the 'top' of England."

The Express, and The Metro were a couple of several papers to pick up on the rumours from Spain, but with the Clasico been and gone, it has all gone mysteriously quiet, even with Karim Benzema is back in the goals, bagging twice against Sevilla in midweek.

Until now. Gallardo has been speaking to Spanish talkshow Punto Pelota, to who he originally made the claims, and has been backtracking slightly.

He confirms an approach has been made, but Real Madrid are not swayed to do anything regarding the striker's future until next summer, especially with Monaco owner Dmitri Rybolovlev confirming to Marca today that Falcao is not going anywhere in January.

He said: "Real Madrid has received an inquiry by Karim Benzema. Real Madrid has answered that they can not say yes, nor no. (They are) going to let time pass, wait until summer and see what then is the status of French striker."

The report adds that Gallardo states categorically that Premier League leaders Arsenal were not the club who made the approach.

He adds that the team who made the offer made clear their interest was with a view to signing next summer and the offer will still stand.

Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil in the summer from Real, and Gallardo was the agent who infamously upset the German's father, with claims he made about Manchester United being in for him.

With Arsenal apparently out of the running as the mystery team who made the approach, it is open to speculation as to who the club is.

Manchester City have four top strikers on their books, adding two over the summer, and so it is unlikely to be them, while Manchester United could be interested, only if as a contingency plan if Wayne Rooney were to suddenly force a move.

Tottenham could be outsiders, but far more likely is Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, with the manager having worked with Benzema at Madrid for three seasons before leaving this summer.

Chelsea have a question mark over the long-term futures of Demba Ba, while Samuel Eto'o is only seen as a stop gap and even a Fernando Torres sale couldn't be ruled out for the right price; you'd only bet on loanee Romelu Lukaku being there in a couple of years time.

Benzema would present a significant upgrade on Ba, and likely Eto'o unless he can recapture his form of old, and so it might just be that the proposals came from the club in West London.

Who do you think is behind the mystery Benzema bid? Should Arsenal get involved or stay away?

image: © Jan S0L0

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