Karim Benzema Would Bring a Revolution to Arsenal that they may not be Ready For


Transfer rumors have a habit of never being believable. Over the past year, Edinson Cavani has ‘agreed’ to terms with Arsenal approximately 17 times and it’s never materialized. As such, it’s important to really consider a transfer’s validity before appointing it as possible.

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Karim Benzema is one such rumor that simply doesn’t seem possible on the surface. However, if we explore it in depth as far as what it would mean for both teams and what moving pieces have to make way for it to happen, there are possible avenues where this move could come to fruition.

First, consider the teams. Real Madrid is known for turning over players like there’s no tomorrow. They offloaded Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil without a second thought and brought in James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos. No one batted an eye at the change. It’s Real Madrid, they’re going to get what they want and they’re going to win. But when you look at their striker crop, it’s actually rather thin. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Chicharito could all conceivably play the striker role, but the only true striker is Karim Benzema.

So that’s it, it’s not going to happen right? Well, not just yet.

Juventus’s Alvaro Morata is a Real Madrid product and when Morata was sold to the Italian side, Madrid maintain a buyback clause priced around 20 million pounds. After being downed by that Italian side and by the striker that they sold, why wouldn’t Real Madrid look to buyback Morata?

Not only that, but if Paulo Dybala and Edinson Cavani are truly headed to Juventus like the reports indicate, or even if only one does, then that leaves Juventus with a massive surplus of strikers. And why would they be actively shopping for strikers? The most likely answer is that Real Madrid have already notified them that they’re buying back Morata.

So back to Karim Benzema. He’s still the go-to guy at striker even with Morata returning, but if Real Madrid have the faith in Morata that they should, that could make Karim Benzema the odd man out. Then again, given that it’s Real Madrid, they could have any other striker in the world on their radar and they’d make it happen.

Rumors indicated that Karim Benzema was looking to get away from Real Madrid and the most obvious link is to Arsenal. Granted the rumors are from the Daily Star and their validity can’t be confirmed, but there is some logic to the link. For one, Karim Benzema is French, and Arsene Wenger hasn’t gone on a French spending spree in some time.

Secondly, Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud are the predominant French National team strikers. They have a good, healthy rivalry at the national level according to ESPNFC and that can easily translate to a club level as well.

Since Olivier Giroud has a confidence problem and any striker brought on could prove detrimental to his self-assurance, why not bring on his countryman, who would bring with him a more friendly competition than someone like Jackson Martinez? Yes, it would be a direct replacement that Arsenal don’t necessarily need, but a secondary striker should be near the top of Arsenal’s priority list, and it would be a boon in disguise to bring on Karim Benzema for Giroud. They’d still both find ample playing time given how many competitions Arsenal are going to be in.

As far as playstyle, Benzema would fit in masterfully at the Emirates. He plays a similar, attractive style of football that Arsenal have come to accentuate over the years. His creativity and natural ability would mesh with Arsenal’s current free-flowing attack and when he does get sucked out onto the wings from that free-flow, he wouldn’t look as lost as Giroud does.

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I’m not of the mind that Olivier Giroud should be replaced, but I am of the mind that we need another striker to provide Giroud some competition in the hopes of establishing consistency. While Karim Benzema would seemingly replace Giroud, it wouldn’t be like a standard replacement. I’m putting a lot of faith in the French connection being a positive to Giroud. We’ve seen how unstoppable he can be when in proper form. Seeing Benzema come to town and threaten his spot would force Olivier Giroud to sink or swim. If he swims, he can stand toe to toe with Karim Benzema and give Arsenal a dynamic striking duo.

A two striker system may not be the worst plan ever either. Given that Arsenal’s winger crop is incredibly versatile, they could be shifted back to more of a midfield role. Consider this formation:

Not so bad, is it? Granted, it took Wenger approximately a decade to change his stubborn ways and adapt to the new Arsenal style this year, so maybe asking for a formation change to accommodate a far-fetched transfer rumor is heretical, but the versatility of that lineup is solid. Cazorla, the Ox, Ozil, Ramsey and Wilshere can all play any of the four midfield roles so rotating the squad would provide no weakness. Not to mention Benzema has already played alongside Mesut Ozil at Real Madrid.

Olivier Giroud has even spoken of playing as a pair with Benzema for the French National side, and he likes the proposition (as reported by ESPNFC): “Why not play as a pair? In tactical terms, we could be put together if we have to go and get a result. It’s good to have forwards who complete each other and are complementary in their qualities.” Seems like a healthy partnership in the making to me.

The likelihood of Karim Benzema suiting up in the red of Arsenal is not a likely scenario, granted. The only reports on the possibility come from less than reputable sources. But there is that slight glimmer of a possibility. He may completely revolutionize Arsenal, but it would be in a good way, that much is pretty certain.

Next: What would Ilkay Gundogan Bring to Arsenal?