Karim Benzema was, and probably still is, the player almost every Arsenal fan wants to see arrive at the Emirates. We were heavily linked with a move for the French forward this past summer, and former Gunner Paul Merson claims we should have made a record breaking £75m bid to bring him to the club, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The player turned pundit is often outspoken about Arsenal matters, and believes Arsene Wenger and the board have cheated fans this time around (via the Mail).
“If you’re an Arsenal season ticket holder, you’re paying top dollar. It’s their money. It’s the fans’ money. It’s not Arsene Wenger’s money. It’s not the club’s money. It’s the fans’ money that they’ve paid to buy players,” he said.
“It cheats the fans. The fans think ‘what are we coming for? We turn up every week, we pay the highest prices and what for? Top four? We might get a day out at Wembley again in the FA Cup.’ Wow-wee.”
He claims we should have really tested Real Madrid’s nerves with a massive bid, at the very least just to show ambition and our intentions in the market.
“Just put in a bid for Benzema. £75m,” he continued.
“If Real Madrid turn around and say ‘we’re not selling him’, you can’t argue with that. You’ve put in a bid and if they turn it down or the lad doesn’t want to come, that’s the way it goes. But show something.”
Fans obviously would have loved to see Benzema arrive this past summer, and many would have cared little for the cost. There are still plenty of supporters who don’t want us to become like the Manchester Citys and Chelseas of the world though, and while signings are needed, they don’t want us to throw away our morals.
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A player of Benzema’s calibre may well have been unavailable, and throwing our financial weight around has never been the Arsenal way. The fact that we were the only team in Europe’s top five leagues not to make an outfield signing is still disappointing though, and hopefully we don’t regret it over the course of the season.