Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Gunners Reportedly After Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria

Tim KeeneyContributor IAugust 21, 2013

Arsenal have been highly criticized this summer for their frugal ways during the transfer window, but a new report suggests Arsene Wenger is looking to change that. 

According to BBC Sport's David Ornstein, the Gunners manager is reportedly set to make an offer for Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria:

Arsenal are working on deals to sign Real Madrid pair Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria.

The Gunners are prepared to pay £40m for 25-year-old France striker Benzema after missing out on Gonzalo Higuain and Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to further boost his attacking options with Argentina international Di Maria, 25, who plays on the left wing.

UPDATE: Friday, August 23, at 9:35 a.m. BST

From Arsene Wenger, reported by Ben Rumsby:

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UPDATE: Thursday, August 22, at 10:35 a.m. BST

From Guillem Balague:

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UPDATE: Thursday, August 22, at 8:10 a.m. BST

From Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph:

It is understood that Arsenal have been in touch with Madrid over the past 48 hours and are encouraged that a deal for Benzema could be feasible.

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This may have seemed far-fetched a while ago, but with the Gareth Bale-to-Real Madrid rumours gaining steam once again, perhaps a move by the Spanish side's duo is more plausible than we thought.

Benzema scored 11 goals and tallied 11 assists in 30 La Liga appearances last season for Los Blancos. The 25-year-old Frenchman also scored in the opener against Real Betis on Sunday.   

Di Maria, meanwhile, scored seven goals in 32 appearances, and, according to Squawka, he created 45 total chances and completed 72 percent of his passes in more of a playmaking role. He came on as a sub in the 69th minute on Sunday. 

Though Wednesday night's 3-0 result over Fenerbahce in the first leg of the Champions League playoff is encouraging, Arsenal have endured a dreadful summer. Not only have they suffered through a quiet transfer period in which they have failed to sign many of the big names they have been linked to, but they have also been overcome with a heap of injuries that has left the squad very thin and with zero points after an opening home fixture with Aston Villa.

If they were able to pull this deal off, though, they would be able to add a quality striker and depth in the midfield, two things that have been on the checklist all summer.

Is this the move that will finally end the summer of frustration and put Wenger back in the Gooners' good graces? 

That remains to be seen, but with 12 days remaining until the transfer deadline, it appears Arsenal are not ready to go into September quietly.