Premier League • England

Real Madrid plotting Arsenal and Tottenham raids with potential exits far more damaging to Arteta

Arsenal forwards Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli

Real Madrid have drawn up a shortlist of Karim Benzema replacements that includes a player each from Arsenal and Tottenham, with the potential Gunners deal in particular looking ultra-damaging for Mikel Arteta.

The two North London clubs have experienced wildly contrasting seasons thus far. Arsenal top the table and harbour genuine ambitions of lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time since 2004. The Gunners also cruised through their Europa League group, winning five from six.

Spurs, meanwhile, have developed a nagging habit of falling behind in games. Thankfully for Antonio Conte, his side do often roar back in the second half, but it’s led to more than a handful of nervy moments.

Tottenham currently lay fourth in the table and qualified for the Round of 16 in the Champions League after surviving an almighty scare on matchday six.

Both clubs are looking to strengthen in the January window as they push to secure their season aims. Indeed, Arsenal want a ready-made winger and a new central midfielder. Spurs are also in the hunt for a more attack-minded midfielder, as well as potentially a new right wing-back.

Certainly not on either side’s mind is losing any of their front line stars, either in January or come next summer. However, according to Spanish outlet Defensa Central, that’s exactly what could transpire.

Real Madrid spectre looming large

They report Real Madrid are beginning to turn their attention to replacing current Ballon d’Or holder, Karim Benzema.

The Frenchman is at the peak of his powers, though he’ll turn 35 later this month and time will eventually catch up. What’s more, injuries have begun to bite, limiting Benzema to just 11 appearances across all competitions this season.

The World Cup is offering Real a chance to run the rule over potential successors. Two names listed by the Spanish publication are from north London – Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison.

The Brazilian pair are both with Brazil in Qatar, and it’s Richarlison who is getting the nod to start up front.

However, Richarlison is by no means a guaranteed starter at Spurs – unlike Jesus at the Emirates.

Losing Jesus would unquestionably be a bigger blow to Arsenal than losing Richarlison would be to Tottenham. Jesus is a one-man wrecking ball at the tip of Arteta’s attack and is equally as effective both in and out of possession.

Derails beyond Real’s basic interest are thin on the ground. No potential transfer valuations are listed, though both Brazilians arrived at their current clubs for north of £45m each and as such, neither would come cheap.

Regardless, there’s no indication Tottenham or Arsenal would be willing to part ways with their summer recruits anyway.

While Real may view Jesus or Richarlison as viable Benzema replacements, they may well be forced into turning their gaze elsewhere.

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