Arsenal's hopes of signing Karim Benzema have been dented after the striker's agent said the player intends to stay at Real Madrid even though his contract has not yet been renewed.
The former Lyon star's current deal at the Santiago Bernabeu is set to expire in June 2015 and should he not agree a new deal, Los Blancos will be forced to sell him this summer – or risk losing him on a free transfer next year.
However, the French forward's agent Karim Djaziri has ruled out the possibility of a move away from Real this summer, as quoted by Daily AS: "Talks about renewing (Benzema) began long time ago.
"We met with (Real president) Florentino Perez in September, in December, in March and last Monday.
"It is true that his contract has not been extended, but Karim is a man of his word and he told Florentino that he wants to stay at the club of his dreams as long as possible.
"What is certain is that, whatever happens, he won't leave Real Madrid."
The 26-year-old's future has been shrouded in speculation despite his healthy return of 17 goals in 35 league appearances during the 2013/14 season.
"He went through a difficult time, but as he is a great champion, he knew he was going to reverse," Benzema's agent said. "He played little last season and had followed special preparation in summer, so it was normal to have less play in September and October.
"What bothered him is that his clumsiness or attitude has been criticised when it was a physical matter," he added.
However, according to AS, Real are likely to prolong his spell in La Liga but negotiations between both parties are currently far apart due to the 26-year-old's demands for his salary to be doubled from €4.5 million to €9 million.
Los Blancos are not keen on meeting his wage demands and should the French star refuse Real's offer the club may consider selling him to help fund a move to sign Liverpool star Luis Suarez as his replacement.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is an admirer of his compatriot and is closely monitoring the situation in Madrid – last summer, the Gunners reportedly tried to bring the French international to north London after failing to sign Suarez and before completing Mesut Ozil's move.
The Gunners have also been heavily linked with Benzema's team-mate Alvaro Morata but the Frenchman would be a better acquisition having scored 24 goals in the 2013/14 season.