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Exclusive: Arsenal to Equal Club Record Transfer With £42.5m Striker Bid

Arsene Wenger ready to dig deep to bring number one summer transfer target to the Emirates Stadium.

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is ready to switch his attention from AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli to French forward Karim Benzema after receiving encouragement from the Real Madrid star’s representatives in relation to their client’s interest in a potential move to the Emirates Stadium.

CaughtOffside understands that the 26 year old is concerned about his future at the Bernabeu given Real Madrid’s ongoing pursuit of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, with the club’s president Florentino Perez hell-bent on bringing in a ‘Marquee’ signing to play in a central forward role between wide attackers Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

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Benzema enjoyed a strong season in 2013/14, benefiting from the sale of Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli, scoring 24 goals in all competitions and being a virtual ever present in Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge of the La Liga giants.

Wenger has been in talks with AC Milan over a proposed move to Italian international Balotelli but will happily give up in that chase in order to land long term target.

Real Madrid have told Arsenal that it will take a fee of £42.5m, the same as that which the north London side paid for Mesut Ozil last summer, to capture Benzema and that’s a sum Wenger is happy to pay.

Benzema combined well with Gunners star Olivier Giroud in France’s recent annihilation of Switzerland and this may well have led the watching Wenger, who is working with French TV as a pundit, into stepping up his pursuit of the former Lyon man.

The powerful striker has already netted three goals in the 2014 World Cup campaign, as well as missing a spot-kick, and should Wenger secure a deal to sign Benzema then he will make experienced German Lukas Podolski available for a permanent exit whilst youngster Yaya Sanogo may be loaned out to gain some much needed Premier League action.

Wenger will however bring in Costa Rican international Joel Campbell after his World Cup heroics, which come off the back of a hugely successful spell on loan at Olympiakos.

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