Arsenal have been informed that Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is available for a cut price fee in January as the Spanish club step up their pursuit of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, with the Uruguayan having been a transfer target for the Gunners in the summer.
An approach for Benzema was made by Arsenal during the transfer window, and the Evening Standard is reporting that they have been made aware that the 25-year-old is up for sale for around £20m, which is half of what Real were valuing the Frenchman in the summer.
The change in heart over Benzema’s future comes after insiders at the club admit Carlo Ancelotti has lost patience with the misfiring forward, who has netted just twice in eight matches this season.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is aware that, despite the world record signing of Gareth Bale, the forward line needs strengthening following a stuttering start to the season, and is prepared to cut his losses on the former Lyon star who cost £30m in 2009.
With indications growing that Liverpool striker Suarez is still adamant on quitting the club, Perez will look to offload Benzema to partially fund a move for the Uruguayan.
Real Madrid have also identified Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero as a possible target.
Like Suarez, the Argentinian harbours ambitions to play at the Bernabeu but is deemed much less likely to leave Manchester City this season.
Whether Arsenal offer Benzema an escape route remains to be seen. Arsene Wenger is a long term admirer of Benzema. But with the Gunners at the top of the Premier League table thanks in part to Olivier Giroud's fine form, Wenger may feel signing such a high profile forward is not necessary.
Benzema's countryman has netted four goals in seven games for the Gunners rewarding the faith shown him by Wenger and has usurped the Real Madrid star as France's first choice centre forward.
It follows reports this weekend that Suarez has told friends that he still wants to quit Anfield.
The Reds hierarchy stood firm following two bids from Arsenal for Suarez in the summer and will publicly insist that their star forward is not for sale - but Real Madrid feel more bullish that they could do business in January with the right offer.