Rafa Benitez hints Arsenal target Karim Benzema will stay at Real Madrid

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid controls the ball during the International Champions Cup friendly match between Real Madrid a
Image: Karim Benzema has been challenged to score 25 goals for Real Madrid this season

Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has signalled his side's intention to keep hold of Arsenal target Karim Benzema by insisting that the Frenchman could score 25 goals for the Spanish club this season.

Benzema has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal in recent months, despite the fact he is the only recognised striker at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid, meanwhile, have been tipped to bring in another centre-forward, and Benitez has hinted that any new arrival up front could partner or provide an alternative to Benzema instead of replacing him.

When asked if he is thinking about moving for a striker with different characteristics to Benzema, Benitez told Spanish newspaper El Pais: "It's that having alternatives in any position always helps.

Benzema is a great player. And one of my ideas this year is that he exceeds the barrier of 20-25 goals.
Rafael Benitez

"For example, the middle of the park - you have a midfielder who is better with containment and another with passing.

"Depending on the match, you can take advantage of one or the other. In the case of the striker, the same.

"Benzema is a great player. And one of my ideas this year is that he exceeds the barrier of 20-25 goals. In that, I have put a lot of confidence."

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Benitez was also asked if he expects more new faces at the club before the close of the transfer window, to which he replied: "Until August 31, the market is open and there may be movements, but I only speak of the squad that I have.

"To improve our team is not easy, there are not many players better than the ones that we have and [that are] available on the market.

"But another way of improving is with quality work - specific work for each player or for each line."

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