Player analysis: What do Arsenal see in Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema?

Following reports that the Gunners have renewed their interest in the 25-year-old, we take a look at Benzema's career so far

After missing out in their chase for Luis Suarez, Arsenal are looking towards Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to fill their void in their attack.

The Frenchman has had a fairly successful career already considering he is just 25-years-old, having won the Ligue 1 title with Lyon four times and La Liga with Real in 2011-12. Having begun his career with the French side in 1996 when he joined the youth academy, he signed a professional deal at the age of 18.

Benzema made an immediate impact on the Lyon squad, sending out a warning to the rest of the squad that he meant business. As is tradition at Lyon, any new signing must stand up in front of his team-mates and say a few words. When a squad consisting of names such as Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Eric Abidal and Sylvain Wiltord began laughing during his speech, Benzema calmly replied “ Do not laugh, I am here to take your place”.

He went on to make his debut in December 2004, providing an assist, and went on to make a further five appearances but would struggle the following season for opportunities under new manager Gerard Houllier.

However, on his Champions League debut, he scored in the 2-1 win over Norwegian side Rosenborg, and would add his first league goal later that season.

It wouldn’t be until the 2007-08 season – and under another new manager in Allain Perrin – the Benzema would begin to flourish. With Malouda, Wiltord and John Carew having left the club, 19-year-old Benzema was trusted to lead the line for the Ligue 1 favourites, he repaid the faith shown in him by Perrin with 31 goals in 51 games.

He finished the season as the league’s top scorer with 20 goals, and was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year as well as being nominated for the 2008 Ballon d’Or award.

He continued to find the back of the net the following season before Lyon agreed to sell him to Real Madrid for £30m, rising to £35m with add-ons. His arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu was omewhat overshadowed though by the world record signings of Kaka, for £56m, and Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United for a staggering £80m.

Having completed his move to Spain, Benzema struggled for goals in his first season, netting just nine times in all competitions – a much lower number than his time in France – but his second season with the Spaniards proved much more fruitful, scoring 26 goals in total with 15 coming in La Liga.

In 2011-12, and under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, he had his best season of his career so far, scoring an impressive 32 goals in 52 games as Real finally reclaimed the league title after years of Barcelona dominance.

Despite his goal record, he was again kept out of the headlines due to Ronaldo, whose phenomenal goal tally of 60 goals in 55 games was somehow blown away by Lionel Messi’s magical 86-goal haul.

He was unable to replicate the feat last season though, scoring just 11 times in the league as Real’s struggles in Mourinho’s final season in charge were well publicised. His replacement, Carlo Ancelotti, deemed Gonzalo Higuain surplus to requirements, and seemingly put his faith in Benzema. But Real’s hopes for 20-year-old Alvaro Morata could see him afforded more first team opportunities this season, and subsequently impact on Benzema’s chances.

 

See Benzema score in last season's Champions League against Manchester City

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'