Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has refuted suggestions that the club are set to submit an offer to sign Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
The France international has been frequently linked with moves to the Premier League in recent years as the transfer situation at the Santiago Bernabeu continues to vary wildly from one summer to the next, and initial reports from Spain recently relayed by The Sun have suggested that Arsenal are set to rekindle their interest with a £40m ($62.4m) offer later in July.
Despite Chuba Akpom's hat-trick in a pre-season friendly against a Singapore Select XI on Wednesday (15 July), Wenger is still expected to dip into the transfer market and strengthen his frontline this summer to provide competition for a striker in Olivier Giroud, who many believe is simply not consistent enough to lead the line for a title contender.
Benzema, who scored 15 goals in 29 La Liga starts last season as Real failed to unseat Barcelona domestically or indeed successfully defend their Champions League title, does not appear to be among his list of options, at least not in the short-term.
"I don't know where that story has come from. But that's not happening at the moment," Wenger said during a press conference in Singapore as quoted by Sky Sports.
Akpom's statement of intent may just have come at precisely the right moment for the Gunners.
While Giroud is fit, Alexis Sanchez will miss the Community Shield clash against Chelsea on 2 August and the Premier League opener against West Ham United a week later, having been given a well-earned break following his heroics at the 2015 Copa America in Chile.
Lukas Podolski recently left Arsenal for Galatasaray in a cut-price deal and Danny Welbeck remains out with a recurring knee problem that is finally expected to heal in time for the Emirates Cup tournament in north London later in July.
That would appear to leave Akpom free to stake further claim for a regular first-team birth and Wenger recently confirmed the 19-year-old would not be sent out on loan again following temporary spells in the Football League at Brentford, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest.
He said: "I sent him out on loan last year because I thought he needed that. This pre-season, during the season I plan to keep him with us.
"That's up to him [how often he plays]. How much? I don't know but I just believe that it's an encouragement to do well and to work even harder.
"He's a young player and it can lift his confidence. The confidence in the dressing room that you sense from the other players is important as well and that can help him. Let's not forget it's a friendly. He's a good talent but he has to work and show that in [the big] games."
Arsenal face Everton in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy on Saturday (18 July) at the National Stadium in Kallang.