Mesut Özil has joined Ángel di María on Arsenal’s list of transfer targets from Real Madrid but the deals both hinge on Tottenham Hotspur allowing Gareth Bale his dream move to the Bernabéu.
|Target man: Real Madrid's Mesut Özil and team-mate Ángel di María could be signed by Arsenal before next Monday's deadline|
Arsenal were also keen to sign Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, who are willing to make player sales should they complete a world-record deal for Bale, but the France striker has made it clear that he wants to stay.
Özil and Di María, however, would be available at a combined price of around £60 million and Arsenal are ready to bid. The complication for Arsenal is that the timescale is being dictated by Tottenham, with Real almost certain to keep both Özil and Di María unless they sign Bale.
Although Arsène Wenger’s priority this summer had been to recruit a world class centre-forward, he would regard Özil as an option he has to pursue if he does become available.
Özil is a specialist in the playmaker role vacated by Cesc Fabregas and, although Santi Cazorla can also play in that position, both players can operate across the three attacking midfield positions.
Wenger also believes that Di María would add pace and a very different option to the left side of his attack.
The potential signings of Özil and Di María do suggest, however, that Wenger is losing hope of adding an out-and-out striker and is looking at alternative ways of improving the club’s attack.
Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo are all regarded as viable options as the main centre forward, with Wenger admitting on Monday that Giroud and Podolski had been “proving a point” by scoring five goals in three games.
Wenger also said that he had never known a more “difficult” transfer window and had a blunt message for his fellow Premier League managers.
Asked if there was too much talking, he said: “Yes. Everybody has a good opinion about what other managers should do but they do not look at themselves.
"It’s better that you shut up and don’t say anything.
"You could see that many of the disputes all over the country are because the coaches or managers speak about the players.
"Be discreet in our job and try to make things happen.”
David Moyes, the Manchester United manager, has spoken openly about Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, while Jose Mourinho have been similarly outspoken about Wayne Rooney .
Of Arsenal’s own transfer situation, Wenger said: “It has been difficult for two reasons: I already have quality players and the competition for players is absolutely massive in the international market. Before, we were privileged – a bit more lonely. Now, everybody knows everybody.”
Wenger also wants to make additions in central midfield following long-term injuries to Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A £15 million bid is expected for Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye while Mathieu Flamini will also be offered a contract. It is understood that Flamini’s agent, Darren Dein, and Arsenal’s negotiator, Dick Law, held talks on Monday at the club’s training ground.
Should Flamini sign, Wenger is unlikely to add another defender. He could still add a goalkeeper and, having had a £6 million bid rejected, is likely to return for Valencia’s Vicente Guaita.
Arsenal face Fenerbahce on Tuesday night in the second leg of their Champions League play-off, with Wenger preparing to field his strongest team despite their 3-0 first-leg advantage.