Few centre-forwards have been responsible for the generation of more column inches suggesting they were on the brink of becoming Arsenal’s next great number nine than Karim Benzema.
However, in the wake of the Frenchman’s 41st Champions League goal in 68 appearances, surely now is the time for the rumour mill to stop taunting Gooners with the prospect of a switch that only becomes more implausible.
Rumours that he is not among Real Madrid’s most irreplaceable players have dogged his career at Santiago Bernabeu and provided the tittle-tattlers with purchase in mooting a move away.
However ‘Big Match Benzy’, as he has come to be known in the bwinbetting bunker due to his knack for netting in blockbuster encounters, is close to being able to claim the greatest longevity of any foreign number nine to feature for Los Blancos in recent times.
Having made his 251st showing against Liverpool, only Gonzalo Higuain (264) has made more appearances among the aforementioned contingent over the last few decades.
That puts him ahead of world-class strikers of the ilk of Ronaldo (the Brazilian), Ruud van Nistelrooy and Davor Suker in Real’s all-time list.
Any doubts as to Benzema’s long-term future that may have existed during the years in which he duelled with Higuain for the line-leader’s baton have long since been dispelled.
The former Lyon striker is now enjoying his best Champions League campaign at the club, with five goals in four outings this term and, following the Argentine’s departure he is now the sole senior centre-forward in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
It all suggests that future tabloid tittle-tattle linking Arsenal with an audacious bid or ‘swoop’ for the ‘unsettled’ striker isn’t worth readers’ while.
Real Madrid are 7/2 favourites to win a second consecutive Champions League in 2014/15.