A brief and strongly worded statement from Karim Benzema’s agent seems to have killed off any chance of a summer switch.
Despite the Gunners being tipped for a move all the way from summer to the present, however, a concrete bid is seemingly yet to arrive and other suitors in AS Roma and PSG have been named - and this week it was Liverpool.
Rumours in the Spanish press have suggested that the striker’s relationship with boss Carlo Ancelotti isn’t the most stable whilst he’s at times been an object of criticism, even as Benzema has enjoyed a fruitful campaign with 18 goals and nine assists in all competitions.
At the weekend the 26-year-old sought to clarify the situation in reaffirming his commitment to Los Merengues, insisting his focus remains with the club and lauding Zinedine Zidane’s influence.
Yet as if such an oath from the player himself isn’t enough to shut the rumour mill down, Karim Djaziri has seemingly put a full stop on any enduring talk of a departure.
“He’s staying at Real Madrid, there is no problem,” the France international’s representative told TuttoMercatoWeb.
Succinct, sharp and without scope for interpretation - taken at face value, Benzema won’t be leaving the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid will still have to resolve the issue of the centre-forward’s expiring contract - currently running only until June 2015 - a point which had fueled speculation of a move.
But if Djaziri’s conviction over his client’s future is as concrete as it sounds, it may not be too long before news of talks on an extension begins filtering through.
Arsenal are believed to be closing in on a deal for Benzema's team-mate in Madrid, Alvaro Morata, so appear to have opted for another hit man the club has been closely linked with over the course of the campaign.
Did Arsenal miss out on signing Benzema when they had the chance?
image: © Jan S0L0