Arsene Wenger has suggested that Karim Benzema could be the perfect January signing for Arsenal, insisting the Frenchman ‘makes people around him better’. Benzema is currently plying his trade in Saudi Arabia, having left Real Madrid to join Al-Ittihad last summer.
The 36-year-old has recently been linked with a move back to Europe, with his big-money move to Saudi Arabia reportedly turning sour after just half a season. He failed to show up for training on consecutive days, according to AS, but Al-Ittihad later said that he was given permission to return to Madrid due to ‘particular circumstances’.
Wenger, who tried to sign Benzema during his time in charge of Arsenal, previously claimed that he would be a shrewd addition to Mikel Arteta’s squad due to his ability to bring the best out of his team-mates.
Speaking in 2021, Wenger said: “He was in competition with [Gonzalo] Higuain for a while [at Real Madrid]. It was Higuain for three games, three games for Benzema. He played the game based on passing and connections, so he was an ideal player up front.
“He’s a striker who makes people around him better and sometimes you have strikers who score goals but they make players around them worse. He’s not one of them. If you put Benzema in the team, I would want to play with him.”
Arsenal could benefit from strengthening their options in attack, with the Gunners lacking a prolific goalscorer at the top of the pitch. Their lack of bite was clear to see in their FA Cup third round defeat to Liverpool, in which they dominated for large parts but failed to convert any of their chances into goals.
Gunners legend Ian Wright was clear in his demands to his former side as he reacted on X, formerly Twitter, simply posting: “We need a killer.” However, Arteta insisted after the full-time whistle that it will be difficult to bring in the right player before the January window closes.
“At the moment it doesn’t look realistic, my job is to improve the players we have,” the Arsenal boss told beIN Sports. He later doubled down in his post-match press conference, urging supporters to back the players already in the building rather than clamouring for new signings.
“What I beg from the supporters is that they are behind the team,” he said. “Stick behind the team, they are incredibly good. They deserve the support with their attitude. One thing is what we need and another is what we can do. What we can do is stick behind those players and make sure we stick behind those players.”
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