Arsenal are preparing a £25.8m bid for Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria, according to the Metro. The Argentina international is believed to listed as surplus to requirements once the arrival of Tottenham star Gareth Bale is confirmed. The Guardian believes the Wales international is to be unveiled by Santiago Bernabeu chiefs on Tuesday.
The potential capture of di Maria will go some way in satisfying Arsenal fans who have hit out at Arsene Wenger following yet another empty transfer season. The Gunners were believed to have transfer funds in excess of £70m, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, and were willing to use that money to end a nearly decade-long trophy drought.
However, so far Wenger has been typically frugal, signing only France youth international Yaya Sanogo (on a free transfer) and, according to the BBC, contemplating the return of Mathieu Flamini (also on a free transfer).
The north London side have been overrun by injuries inside the first weeks of the new season, with youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joining veteran Mikel Arteta on the long-term list, leaving very few options in the centre of the park. In addition, the sale of Ivory Coast international Gervinho and the release of Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin has further depleted numbers, forcing Wenger to launch a desperate £10m bid for Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye last week, according to the BBC; the Magpies have turned down the offer.
In addition to providing squad depth, di Maria will provide Wenger a world-class attacking option down the left flank. The Argentine is extremely fast and has superb ball control. He is equally comfortable on the right flank as well, where he can cut inside the left-back and shoot on his stronger foot.
The former Benfica winger joined Madrid in 2010 and despite not being a regular starter under Jose Mourinho last season, scored seven goals and created six more from 22 La Liga starts.
Meanwhile, Karim Benzema's agent has refused talk of the France international striker moving to the Emirates. there were rumours of a £40m bid for the former Olympique Lyon striker but it now appears certain he will stay in the Spanish capital.
"We can not fight against the rumours, but I assure you Karim will not go to Arsenal. There has never been any discussions and no contact has been established," Karim Djaziri told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.