Arsenal continue to hint at massive deadline day signings following a summer of inactivity, with speculation over club record bids for Argentine winger Angel di Maria and Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez. The Telegraph believes Arsene Wenger will sanction a combined £40m bid for the Real Madrid and Palermo stars, with the former costing £25m.
There are also reports linking the Gunners with a record £40m bid for Madrid's German international playmaker Mesut Ozil.
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It is believed Schalke 04's Julian Draxler (who would also cost £40m) and Newcastle United's Demba Ba are designated back-ups for di Maria and Hernandez.
Madrid have confirmed the world record transfer of Welsh international Gareth Bale; the BBC believes Florentino Perez has spent £85m on the former Tottenham forward. The transfer expenditure at the Spanish capital this summer, Bale's fee included, has crossed £130m, with the club having recouped less than half that amount (through the sale of Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon to Serie A side Napoli).
And aside from the need to balance the books, Madrid must also consider the problems of keeping a large number of international stars competing for limited forward berths under new manager Carlo Ancelotti. The former AC Milan and Chelsea boss will be expected to play Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale in almost every match, meaning the futures of Ozil, di Maria and France striker Karim Benzema are under review, particularly with the excellent start made by another summer signing - Isco.
Angel di Maria could be one of the first big names to leave Madrid, despite talk that Portugal international Ronaldo enjoys playing with the former Benfica man and has asked that the club retain his services. The winger made 22 La Liga starts under Jose Mourinho last season, scoring seven goals and creating six more. However, his tendency to drift in and out of a game could count against him.
Meanwhile, having failed to sign either Benzema, Higuain, Liverpool's Luis Suarez or Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, Arsenal have turned to Palermo's Hernandez to provide cover and competition for France's Olivier Giroud.
The injury to German international Lukas Podolski leaves only the former Montpellier man as a senior striker for Wenger. The Arsenal manager, though, has emphasised his faith in Giroud and was pleased with the 26-year-old's match-winning performance in the 1-0 win over local rivals Tottenham.
"I like what he did today, because technically it was good, he had a huge physical presence. He looked to me today that he had exceptional quality performance of a real centre forward," Wenger told www.arsenal.com, adding, "I am one of the few who never doubted that."
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