Arsenal striker target Karim Benzema can score "20-25 goals" this season, according to Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez. The French international scored 22 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions last term, and has been tipped to do the same once again this time around by his manager.
Benzema has been constantly mentioned as a target for the Gunners in the summer transfer window, with reports in July claiming a £40m ($62.9m) bid was being prepared. However, the comments from Benitez mean it's unlikely Arsene Wenger will be able to get his man before 2 September.
"I placed a lot of trust in him and he has sufficient resources to operate in all types of attack with any attacker," Benitez told El Pais newspaper, according to Sky Sports.
"Benzema is a great player and one of my ideas is that he will surpass 20-25 goals this season."
Los Blancos have also been tipped to bring a new striker to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, but any signing would be to add increased competition in attack rather than replace a current member of the squad.
"It's that having alternatives in any position always helps. For example, the middle of the park – you have a midfielder who is better with containment and another who is better with passing," added Benitez. "Depending on the match, you can take advantage of one or the other. In the case of the striker, it's the same."
Arsenal have only made one major signing this summer, with goalkeeper Petr Cech arriving at the Emirates Stadium from Chelsea. Teenager Jeff Reine-Adelaide is also showing signs of challenging for a place in the first team squad, but a senior striker is yet to arrive.
Wenger still has time to sign a player in the position if he wishes, with club legend Charlie Nicholas in no doubt that Benzema is the ideal signing. That said, the French tactician may now need to set his sights elsewhere in the final fortnight of the transfer window.