As if this week hasn't been rapturous enough for often-criticized Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, breaking news today that Real Madrid star, and France national team number one striker, Karim Benzema has been suspended from the national team has given the Arsenal man reason to put a little more pep in his step.
As many of you know, Benzema is in the center of a complicated blackmail scheme involving Mathieu Valbuena, Benzema and a smattering of other role players. Basically, Benzema claims that he was the intermediary of a blackmail scheme and was trying to help out his buddy Valbuena avoid embarrassment, while Valbuena argues that it's inconceivable how a friend like Benzema would be trying to reach into a friend's pocket like that. The French Football Federation is siding with the evidence at hand, which doesn't really look good for Benzema, and is suspending the striker from national team duties until the case is fully resolved.
So why does this matter and how does it affect Arsenal?
Firstly, Benzema has been a popular transfer target for this club and fanbase for the better part of two years now. He's in his prime, is French, has a beautiful history with Mesut Ozil and is someone that's considered "world class" for whatever that's worth. Since so many in the fanbase gripe about the men leading Arsenal's attack and since Madrid is so nonsensical with its attacking transfers, the idea that Benz could head to London was viewed as a real possibility despite his claims that he'd never leave the Spanish capital. However, given that Arsene Wenger generally likes decent dudes with a solid moral compass on his roster, this scandal should pretty much eliminate any chances of Benz wearing Arsenal red in his career. Who knows, things could drastically change next summer should Benz be cleared of his charges and with the Lewandowski-to-Madrid rumors potentially not being total nonsense, but one would think that Arsenal would pass on Benzema even at a discounted price.
(R.I.P. Kike Marin's summer job.)
Secondly, more national team minutes for Olivier Giroud! As the most senior striker remaining for France and as someone who has been good to very good for his club the past few seasons, this opens the door wide open for Giroud to lead France in the Euros should Benzema not return with the closing of his case. While seeing Arsenal players lead their national teams can be a source of pride, especially since the Euros will take place in France, it can also be a negative as it provides more chances for injury and we all know how injuries and Arsenal go hand-in-hand. Either way, expect more breath holding and finger crossing the next time France assembles its squad for NT play.
So in a nutshell, it has been a banner week for Giroud.