Arsenal’s successful trip to Asia, which saw them claiming the Barclay’s Asia Trophy Saturday, brought about many intrigues. With Arsene Wenger already having refused to rule out the Gunners making a move for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud further stirred the pot by telling reporters another striker would be welcome at the Emirates.
“If there would be another striker it would nice for all the team because the competition is good for everyone,” said Giroud, speaking to the Guardian after Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat of Everton on Saturday.
Adding to the intrigue was Wenger playing it somewhat coy in reaction to a question about Theo Walcott’s contract negotiations. The Gunners, who in addition to Walcott and Giroud, can call upon the likes of Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla, have no urgent need to bolster their attack. Provided everyone remains fit, that is.
But with Walcott angling for a new deal that could see him receive upwards of $150,000 a week, it’s not entirely certain that he will remain an Arsenal player by the time the season starts. Were Walcott to do a runner to Manchester City or Liverpool, Arsenal would need to sign a striker, and Benzema is increasingly looking as if he could fit the bill.
While Arsenal was celebrating in Singapore, the France striker was on the bench for Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Roma in a pre-season friendly in Melbourne. New boss Rafa Benitez broke up the “BBC” of Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo up front, in favor of a 4-2-3-1 with Jese Rodriguez up top. Benzema is often the first player linked with a move away from Real Madrid. And as we’ve seen with the departures of Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, and now Iker Casillas, no one is indispensable at the Bernabeu.
It’s not unfeasible that the La Liga outfit could let him go this summer, in which case Wenger would be likely to try and sign him, regardless of whether Walcott stayed or went.
“If I find an exceptional player to strengthen, I will do it,” said Wenger earlier in the week in regard to Benzema. “It depends what’s on the market. It’s not easy, there are a lot of teams out there in Europe competing for the same player. We don’t rule it out and we don’t guarantee we will sign.”
According to a report in the Manchester Evening News, Wenger may also be weighing up a bid for Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko. The French manager is known to be a fan of the 29-year-old striker who has fallen down the pecking order at City. However to sign him, the Gunners would have to see off interest from Serie A outfit, Roma.
Meanwhile, going the other way, long-serving Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has left the North London outfit and will join fellow ex-Gunner Lukas Podolski at Galatasary.