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Arsenal should have bid £70 million for Benzema, says Merson

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has criticised Arsene Wenger's refusal to spend big and believes the Frenchman should have launched a big-money bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

The Premier League side were linked with the France international throughout the transfer window, but a move never materialised, leaving Arsenal with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott as their options up front while Danny Welbeck is sidelined through injury.

"Why have Arsenal only signed a goalkeeper [Petr Cech] after they finished that many points behind Chelsea last season? They should have gone for Benzema," Merson was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

"Wenger in the summer compared Olivier Giroud to Benzema, but the Real man would get more goals. Wenger should have put in a bid for £70million. If he didn't want to come then so be it, but at least Wenger could have shown his ambition to the fans. 

"Wenger sees what players are worth and doesn't want to pay more, but modern football is clubs demanding more than a player is worth. You don't get players for cheap anymore. Arsenal should have spent in the summer.

"If one of the strikers gets injured, they're in trouble. Arsenal will not win the league with Theo Walcott up front as the main focal point. They need a bigger focal point."

Benzema has been in superb form for Real this season, scoring seven goals in eight appearances in La Liga and the Champions League.