Karim Benzema reportedly wants to leave Saudi Arabia after an unhappy six-month venture to the Middle East.
The Ballon d’Or winner is understood to be eyeing a short-term exit, at the very least, after a fall-out with the management at Al-Ittihad. His potential availability has led to links to the Premier League, with several sides in search of firepower.
Three Premier League clubs who could sign Karim Benzema:
Arsenal’s lack of a clinical goalscorer has been cited as holding back the club’s title hopes. The Gunners are well positioned once again for another crack at the Premier League, following last season’s stutter during the run-in.
However, neither Gabriel Jesus nor Eddie Nketiah offer a guarantee of goals for Mikel Arteta’s side with the former having netted just three times in the Premier League this season, despite an influential role in Arsenal’s all-round game.
Benzema could provide experience and, crucially, a clinical touch in pressure moments of the campaign. The 36-year-old scored 31 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid last season and has fired 15 in 24 games since swapping Spain for the Saudi Pro League in the summer.
Karim Benzema’s been struggling lately 😕 pic.twitter.com/PlHRspmvSq
— GOAL (@goal) January 18, 2024
It is the sort of potent pedigree that is not often readily available. For Arsenal, with financial restraints this month due to heavy spending in recent transfer windows, a loan deal for Benzema could make perfect sense.
It could be the difference in getting over the line in the title race.
Chelsea’s progress under Mauricio Pochettino has been hindered by a woeful record around goal this season. The West Londoners have the fifth-highest expected goals (xG) figure in the Premier League, though only Manchester United have scored less than their 35 goals among club’s currently in the top half of the table.
Everton are the only team in the Premier League to have a greater underperformance (10.99) than Chelsea when it comes to xG (9.01), with the Blues’ failure to convert chances into goals preventing a push for European football.
Benzema could be an ideal stop-gap solution, and a signing that would alleviate pressure from Nicolas Jackson. The 22-year-old has struggled on occasion this season as he has carried the burden for Chelsea offensively, in the absence of the injured Christopher Nkunku.
Manchester United are another side who have failed to fire this season, having heaped pressure on a young striker’s shoulders. Rasmus Hojlund arrived in a £72m deal from Atalanta in the summer, but the 20-year-old needs time to adapt to English football and develop despite the expectations that arrive with such price tag.
The Denmark international took 15 games to open his account in the Premier League and has scored just twice in the league this season. Things are not much better across the rest of the squad, with only Burnley and Sheffield United having scored less goals than Erik ten Hag’s team.
Anthony Martial’s time with the Red Devils is also reaching its conclusion after eight largely underwhelming campaigns at Old Trafford. The Frenchman is out of contract in the summer and will not be offered an extension to that deal.
United fans will be haunted by previous short-term solutions at number nine, with Falcao, Odion Ighalo and Wout Weghorst among the temporary additions at centre-forward in recent seasons. However, a loan move for Benzema would provide an instant lift to a team that has struggled this season.