Arsene Wenger looks set to put his money where his mouth is after claiming last night that despite his failure to land a top name signing so far in the transfer window: “From 21 August until 2 September you have 12 days, so a lot will happen. It starts now.”
The Arsenal manager has been linked with three Real Madrid players who may be allowed to leave in the next two weeks, striker Karem Benzema, attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria and surprisingly Iker Casillas.
Benzema and Di Maria are likely to become surplus to requirements in the coming days when the expected transfer of Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is finalised and Wenger is reported to have shown an interest in the pair as he looks to bolster his attacking options before the end of the summer.
The movement of Madrid club captain Casillas is the least likely but the player is known to be unhappy having been left out of the season opener against Real Betis on Sunday after expecting to resume his position as the team’s first choice ahead of Diego Lopez after being sidelined for much of last season due to a running feud with former manager Jose Mourinho.
New boss Carlo Ancelotti said that the reason for his exclusion was tactical and he could expect to be back in the team when the game called for it but such talk is unlikely to placate Casillas in a World Cup year.
The move for Benzema is perhaps the most likely to come off as although a source close to the French international said this morning that there was no offer for the player yet, he has been said to be increasingly unhappy at the club after struggling for a regular role and receiving hostile treatment from the supporters.
Arsenal would have to pay around £30million to interest Madrid in the sale but with an expected £100million expenditure on Bale there is likely to be a need to offset the world record transfer fee.
Di Maria too will become a bit part player if Bale arrives and though the Argentine has expressed little desire to leave the Bernabeu he may be forced out though Arsenal will face competition from Paris Saint-Germain and others for the attacking midfielder’s signature.
Wenger finally admitted defeat in his chase of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez last night and will no concentrate his efforts elsewhere as the club look to keep pace with North London rivals Tottenham.