Arsenal have incredibly been told to avoid signing former Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema, with a pundit recommending they pursue a Premier League star instead.
Benzema left Europe in the summer by joining Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia. However, speculation is already growing that the striker wants to return to the elite level.
The 36-year-old could follow in the footsteps of ex-Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, who terminated his contract with Al Ettifaq before joining Ajax on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Benzema has never played in the Premier League before, but that could be about to change. On Wednesday, TEAMtalk revealed that both Arsenal and Chelsea are weighing up whether to make offers for the Ballon d’Or winner this month.
Both London clubs are in need of a new, top-class striker to help push them towards their respective goals, and Benzema would be a fantastic addition. He sits second on the list of all-time Madrid goalscorers, having bagged 354 goals in 648 games and helped them win five Champions Leagues, four league titles and three Spanish cups.
While the France star is a proven goalscorer at the very highest level, former Tottenham Hotspur and England striker Darren Bent has cast doubt over whether his signing would be the right move for Arsenal.
Instead, Bent thinks Mikel Arteta should stick with his original plan of landing Brentford’s Ivan Toney, as the Englishman is younger at 27 and would form part of a longer term project.
“It depends as a club if you’re going short-term or long-term,” the pundit said on talkSPORT.
Arsenal shouldn’t sign Benzema, despite him being ‘one of the best’
“Would Benzema be a gamble? Not really, because he’s one of the best strikers we’ve ever seen – and that’s [a] fact.
“But if you’re looking long-term, and with Arsenal’s model of signing younger players, I know Toney isn’t that young, but you could have Toney for the next four or five years.
“If you get Benzema until the end of the season, you’ve got the same problem again in the summer, and Toney might be gone by then, Chelsea might have got him.
“I’d probably go long-term with Toney, but whoever gets Benzema now until the end of the season, wow, he’s going to be incredible.
“It just depends on what he’s got left, what juice he’s got, because he’s been in Saudi with his feet up you don’t know how competitive he still is.”
While Benzema has not been playing at the highest level in the Middle East, he would still back himself to score plenty of goals in England. After all, it was not too long ago that he was causing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City all sorts of problems in the Champions League, while also scoring for fun in La Liga.
Due to this, if Arsenal were to reject the opportunity to sign Benzema and instead let him join Chelsea, then it would be a massive gamble.
Although, Arteta appears very happy with his decision to prioritise Toney. On Wednesday, sources confirmed to TEAMtalk that Arsenal will try their hardest to sign Toney in the summer.
Before then, Brentford will hope to tie him down to a new contract. But that will not end the possibility of a transfer, as it will include a release clause worth around £80million.