Karim Benzema rules out Arsenal transfer
Transfer talk: Real Madrid striker joins Juan Mata, Phil Jagielka and Eden Hazard in telling Wenger where to go
Another day, another knockback, and this time it's Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema telling Arsenal where to go. The 23-year-old Frenchman has struggled to fit into Jose Mourinho's plans at the Bernabeu but Benzema still fancies life on the subs bench to the prospect of playing for an Arsenal side on the slide.
Talking to French sports daily L'Equipe, Benzema (above) dismissed suggestions he was on the brink of a move to the Emirates. "My place is at this club," he said. "I have never talked to Mr Wenger or anyone else. I want to enjoy success here. I have found my self-belief. This season, I know we will win titles."
Benzema is just the latest in a long line of top names who have snubbed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger with the likes of Juan Mata, Phil Jagielka and Eden Hazard all apparently wary of coming under the tuition of the nutty professor.
Meanwhile, another Spanish-based player ruling out a move to the Premier League is Barcelona winger Ibrahim Afellay. Talksport report that the 25-year-old has been eyed up by both Tottenham and Liverpool in recent weeks but the Dutchman doesn't much care for the attention.
"Afellay will remain in Spain because he is happy at Barcelona," Talksport quotes his agent – Robert Jansen – as saying: "It is normal to receive calls from clubs about players, but they do not amount to much because Barcelona have no doubts about the future of the player."
And it seems that Liverpool are also banging their head against the proverbial brick wall when it comes to Bolton centre-back Gary Cahill. The Metro says the Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is keen to get his mitts on the England international but Trotters head-honcho Owen Coyle isn't having any of it.
"This story is without a shred of foundation," fumed Coyle when asked about the transfer tittle-tattle. "Gary had been through that much and read so many things, he is really focused. That is the way we will treat it." And pressed on whether he was angry at the constant speculation over Cahill (the 25-year-old has also been linked with Arsenal), Coyle responded: "It doesn't faze me... Nothing surprises you in football but people should have more knowledge of the background for anything before they write it."
Coyle also had something to say about a few rumoured dabblings of his own in the transfer marker, most notably Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips. Though he refused to say if he'd made an offer for the pacy wideman, Coyle did admit: "Shaun Wright-Phillips is a terrific player, a player we know well and he's an outstanding talent."
In other news, Queen's Park Rangers have completed the signing of DJ Campbell from Blackpool. The 29-year-old striker netted 13 times for the Tangerines last season in their doomed attempt to avoid the drop from the Premier League, and the Hammersmith-born Campbell is delighted to be going back to his roots. "It's a club that I supported as a kid," he said on QPR's official website. "I grew up around here and QPR have played a massive part in my life."
Finally, the Sun claims that contrary to what was reported earlier in the week it's not QPR who are about to swoop for Liverpool failure Joe Cole - it's Paris Saint Germain. The 29-year-old former Chelsea midfielder apparently believes he's better than QPR, though PSG have hardly set the world alight in recent years.
But following their summer acquisition by a consortium of wealthy Qatar businessmen, the French club have money to burn and if the Sun has its facts right they see Cole as integral to their coming season. What's more, they'd happily pay his £90,000-a-week wage demands. ·