Theo Walcott Arsenal Aston Villa
Arsene Wenger handed Theo Walcott the Arsenal number nine role in the Community Shield ahead of Olivier GiroudReuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested he will rotate Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud up front during the new campaign depending on the rivals, while ruling out the arrival of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. The French manager handed the England international the number nine role over Giroud during the 1-0 Community Shield victory over Chelsea on Sunday 2 August.

Walcott has played the majority of his career on the flanks but since last season, Wenger suggested he feels the 26-year-old forward is ready to develop into a top-class striker playing in a more central role.

The Community Shield was the second time the manager opted for Walcott ahead of Giroud at Wembley after the England international started in the FA Cup final 4-0 victory against Aston Villa at the end of last season, scoring the opener.

But asked after the game whether the Englishman will keep that role during the new campaign, Wenger said: "It depends on the games. I tried to see the options I have through the season.

"I felt today that I wanted to use Theo's pace to go in behind. In the first half he worked very hard, didn't get too much service, but he worked very hard. In the second half when Giroud came on, I think he gave us a physical presence that was needed at that time as well."

Even though he also has Danny Welbeck in his ranks, Wenger had previously claimed the Gunners are open to signing a new striker before the end of the transfer window should a good opportunity arrive.

Spanish newspaper AS recently reported Wenger has set aside £45m ($70m) to get the services of Real Madrid star Benzema this summer. The publication claimed Wenger has earmarked his signing as the new marquee addition for the Gunners following the arrivals of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez during the past two summers.

However, asked about that possibility in the press conference, Wenger said: "No, nothing is happening. Honestly no. I don't know who brings that up. Is it Spanish media or English media? I don't know."