Arsenal and Chelsea will hate Sadio Mane’s comments ahead of ‘tense’ transfer meeting

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have reportedly earmarked former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema as the solution to their goalscoring woes but Sadio Mane may have thrown a spanner in the works

As we all know, January can be a difficult time for any club to sign an addition who will change the course of the season.

This issue increases further when you are like Arsenal and Chelsea who require a centre-forward to solve goalscoring shortfalls. The Gunners want to keep in touch with the pacesetters in the Premier League title race. Their recent squandered opportunities in the FA Cup defeat to Liverpool highlighted the need for an out-and-out centre-forward at the Emirates Stadium.

Chelsea on the other hand need a striker to try and bridge the gap between themselves and the European places. It has been yet another year of transition for the Blues and Mauricio Pochettino would be grateful for a striker who could fire them into the mix between now and the end of the season.

Both clubs could end up paying through the nose for a striker of this quality but a recent report suggested Al Ittihad striker Karim Benzema is wanting out of the Saudi Pro League. The former Real Madrid talisman is thought to be unhappy in the Middle East and wants to return to Europe.

This is not beyond the realms of possibility either following Jordan Henderson’s recent transfer from Al Ettifaq to Ajax. However, perhaps Sadio Mane’s comments about playing in the Saudi Pro League will come as a blow to the London clubs.

When asked at AFCON about his happiness or lack thereof in the Middle East, Mane confidently replied: “That’s what you think because I’m not in Europe. This is sad for you guys.

“Because, for you guys, if you don’t play in Europe, it doesn’t matter. I’m not around as a football player.

“Fortunately, I can say the Saudi league is a very good league, and watched by everybody in the world, so, for me, as long as I’m doing my best and I’m enjoying myself every single minute, that’s more important. The rest, for me, doesn’t matter.”

Mane’s comments come amid reports Benzema and Saudi Pro League bosses are set for a meeting to discuss the player’s future. According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the talks will be ‘tense‘ with league officials attempting to convince him to stay.

Of course, Mane’s comments are not automatically reflective of what Benzema may be thinking. However, knowing not all players are growing weary of the Middle East could mean Arsenal and Chelsea will have to spend more to bring the French attacker to their respective clubs.

Al Ittihad may feel buoyed to ask for a higher asking price knowing the league has more of a standing in world football than the Premier League would like to admit. Ultimately, both sides would have been a lot happier if Mane had followed suit with criticism of the Saudi Pro League.

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