Chelsea Reportedly Set to Fight Arsenal for Karim Benzema in January

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 16:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid shakes hands with head coach Jose Mourinho after being substituted during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Real Madrid and Lyon at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 16, 2011 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho is reportedly looking to bolster his attacking options as a matter of urgency in the January transfer window.

According to A Bola, via Nick Lustig of the Daily Star, the Chelsea boss has outlined Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema as a primary target, but could face competition from Arsenal for his signature:

The Real Madrid striker was a key target for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger in the summer, however a move to England failed to materialise before the close of the transfer window.

However according to A Bola, Mourinho will now rival Wenger and make a move to raid his former club for the French international.

Chelsea’s disappointing start to the season has seen current strikers Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba notch one goal between them. Torres’ strike in the Capital One Cup tie against Swindon will be easily forgotten by Chelsea fans who have been forced to watch Romelu Lukaku excel on loan at Everton.

The Belgian powerhouse, who was deemed surplus to requirements by Mourinho on transfer deadline day, has racked up three goals and an assist in two Premier League appearances for Roberto Martinez’s side. This includes a late winner in the 3-2 victory against West Ham and an excellent brace when Everton beat Newcastle by the same scoreline.

With Torres now facing a spell of three weeks on the sidelines, as reported by BBC Sport, Mourinho’s attacking options have suffered a major blow. Both Eto’o and Ba look off the pace right now and will have to quickly improve if they are going to lead Chelsea's line beyond this season.

Mourinho's alleged pursuit of Benzema shouldn't come as a surprise. The pair worked effectively together at Real Madrid and the Frenchman possesses a similar array of attributes to Wayne Rooney, whom the Portuguese boss failed to land during the summer.

It appears the acquisition of a physical, no-nonsense forward is Mourinho’s main goal right now. Benzema is blessed with lethal finishing, the ability to hold up possession, and a sturdy frame that is used to playing counterattacking football in the lone striker’s role.

He has netted four goals and provided four assists in nine appearances across all competitions this season, per Who Scored. With Carlo Ancelotti’s team currently faltering behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, the former Lyon forward could be coaxed into accepting a new challenge.

Should Benzema agree a Stamford Bridge deal in January, the would-be 26-year-old’s transfer would be reminiscent of Didier Drogba’s move to London in 2004. Also arriving at the age of 26, the Ivory Coast international offered a similarly physical style across a decade-long tenure that culminated in Champions League victory.