By Greg Stobart
Arsene Wenger has identified Benzema as his top target to improve the Gunners’ attack this summer and still believes the striker could end up in north London.
Real Madrid have said that Benzema is not for sale and the 27-year-old is happy in the Spanish capital, but Arsenal are closely monitoring his situation.
Manchester United have also expressed an interest in the Frenchman should he become available towards the end of the transfer window.
Arsenal believe they can clinch a deal for Benzema in a similar manner to the £42.5 million signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on the final day of the transfer window in 2013.
There has been speculation in Spain that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have both been pencilled in to play in more central positions by new Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez.
Benzema is known as a favourite of Madrid president Florentino Perez but could look to move if he finds himself out of the side in the early part of the season.
Wenger wants to add a top quality forward to his squad and has allowed alternatives to join other clubs this summer in the hope that Benzema will become available in August.
Arsenal are prepared to spend around £35m on Benzema as they look to make the former Lyon man their marquee summer signing following the arrivals of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the last two years.
Wenger has told confidants that, if he cannot land Benzema, he is prepared to continue with Olivier Giroud as the club’s main striker next season, with Sanchez and Theo Walcott also able to play as central strikers.
Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain, but Wenger has made it clear that he believes Benzema is the player that can fire Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 2004.
Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009 and has won one La Liga title and the Champions League since his arrival. Last season, he scored 22 goals in 46 appearances for the club in all competitions.