Wenger backs away from Benzema offer

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July 18, 2015 08:12:45 UK

Arsene Wenger has denied reports Arsenal are close to signing Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema but said he remains on the lookout for an “exceptional player”.

The long-serving manager’s only summer signing so far is Petr Cech from London rivals and champions Chelsea but the Frenchman has until the start of September when the transfer window closes to beef up his squad.

“I don’t know where that story comes from, but that is not happening at the moment.”

Arsene Wenger

Reports this week suggested Wenger was prepared to offer the La Liga giants £40million to sign 27-year-old France striker Benzema, but he insisted there was no deal in place.

Benzema’s future in the Spanish capital has come under scrutiny following the arrival of Rafael Benitez as the new coach of the La Liga giants.

Wenger said at a media conference in Singapore: “I don’t know where that story comes from, but that is not happening at the moment.”

The 65-year-old said he was confident he will have a squad ready to compete with champions Chelsea for the Premier League title next season.

He also said he will stay on the lookout for a marquee signing before the new campaign gets underway.

“I am happy with the squad we have. If I find an exceptional player to strengthen, I will do it,” he told reporters.

“It depends what’s on the market. It is not easy, there are a lot of teams out there in Europe competing for the same player. We don’t rule it out and [also] don’t guarantee we sign.

“[The Premier League title] is our target and we feel we have a chance in a very competitive league. We are not far away.”

Arsenal are currently priced 5.50 to win next season’s Premier League and quoted 26.00 in the Champions League outright betting.

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