Man City points deduction FFP threat may answer Arsenal Karim Benzema transfer question

Arsenal are one of several clubs to be linked with Al-Ittihad striker Karim Benzema in the January transfer window but Edu and Mikel Arteta will be wary of breaking profitability and sustainability regulations

Arsenal have been linked with Al-Ittihad striker Karim Benzema (Photo by Abdul Ghani Bashir Issa/MB Media/Getty Images)

Karim Benzema could be on the move this transfer window and Arsenal are one of several clubs linked with the former Real Madrid striker. But can the Gunners really thrash out a deal between now and February 1? understands that the club are surveying the loan market for potential signings that could offer some temporary support as Mikel Arteta’s side challenge for the Premier League title and Champions League. Benzema, of course, would undoubtedly give the north Londoners some much-needed quality up front and perhaps be an upgrade on Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard.

Financial Fair Play is a concern for owner Stan Kroenke and technical director Edu, however. This was seen last summer when Arsenal moved for David Raya, the Brentford goalkeeper they signed on loan with the intention of buying outright 12 months later.

Benzema’s current wage packet at Al-Ittihad stands at €100million (£85.84million) per season, according to Marca. Therefore, if Arsenal were to sign the Frenchman on loan today on the same terms through until June 30, it would cost the club approximately £38.9million if indeed they were required to take on the full pay package.

For a six month loan it’s not yet clear whether Arsenal can do such a deal, given all signs point towards the club being wary of breaching profitability and sustainability regulations (PSR). This is important to note given the news earlier this week that Everton and Nottingham Forest were charged with a single breach for the three-year period ending in the 2022/23 season.

Both clubs have been referred to an independent commission and, if found guilty, could be given a points deduction. Everton were hit with a 10-point deduction in November for an earlier PSR breach, after being referred to a commission in March last year. The club are appealing against that sanction.

On top of this, Manchester City remain the subject of an FFP investigation of their own. Last year, the Premier League revealed that City had been charged with over 115 alleged FFP breaches covering a nine-year period between the 2009/10 and 2017/18 seasons

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters confirmed on Tuesday during an appearance at a House of Commons select committee that a date had been set for the City case to be heard. A report in the Telegraph on Wednesday claimed that there could be ‘developments’ in relation to the proceedings, in some form, as early as next week.

City deny the charges against them and said in a statement last year that they “welcome the review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position”. According to Premier League rules, if Man City are found guilty of the alleged breaches, then the club faces a possible points deduction or even the threat of expulsion from the Premier League.

With Everton, Nottingham Forest and Man City all facing FFP charges, it’s clear the Premier League is coming down hard on clubs who allegedly break financial fair play rules. Arsenal will obviously not want to fall on the wrong side of the rules and risk a potential points deduction in a period when Arteta’s side are challenging for every major honour. Any move for Benzema then appears highly unlikely.


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