Arsene Wenger's rumoured interest in Angel di Maria should excite Gunners fans who have endured a frustrating summer of transfer failures.
The Real Madrid winger is being touted with a move to the Emirates, as reported by David Ornstein of BBC Sport. With Los Blancos on the verge of landing Gareth Bale for a world-record transfer fee, it makes complete sense that the winger will head away from the Bernabeu.
With Cristiano Ronaldo already at the club, di Maria’s playing time will be limited and his chances of representing Argentina ahead of the 2014 World Cup will be stifled.
He’s certainly a world-class name, but what exactly does the energetic player offer Wenger’s men? Arsenal possess plenty of incisive wingers and forwards, so how would he fit in?
Let’s take a look at the former Benfica man’s main achievements and attributes.
|Height:||5'10" (1.78 m)||Current Club:||Real Madrid|
|Weight:||70kg (11 stone)||Previous Clubs:||Rosario (2005-07)||Benfica (07-11)|
|Place of Birth:||Rosario, Argentina||2013/14 La Liga Stats:||One substitute appearance, no goals.|
Di Maria’s European arrival has seen the exciting player praised along the way to personal and team success. A string of stunning performances in the 2007 U-20 FIFA World Club saw him coveted by many clubs, but despite signing an initial agreement to join Rubin Kazan, it was Benfica who landed his talents.
Inevitable success followed in Portugal. Liga Sagres is often dominated by Benfica and their rivals Porto, so it’s no surprise di Maria quickly established himself as a fan favourite at the Estadio da Luz. He helped Benfica to the 2008-09 Portuguese Cup, a trophy he would go on to win again in 2009-10.
The latter season was also topped off with Benfica winning the domestic championship and the likes of di Maria gaining interest from Europe’s bigger league. His move to Real Madrid was a gutsy one, especially as Barcelona’s era of dominance suggested di Maria would struggle to capture silverware.
Luckily for the fleet-footed winger, his first season in Spain saw Madrid win the Copa Del Rey. Jose Mourinho then led di Maria and friends to the La Liga title in 2011-12, before emerging victorious in the Spanish Super Cup of the same year.
Di Maria has also tasted trophy triumphs with Argentina. He won the aforementioned youth championship in 2007 and starred alongside Lionel Messi during the country's 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
What Di Maria Can Bring to Arsenal
Di Maria’s greatest attributes are undoubtedly his dribbling, ability to play key passes and direct style of play. He is an incisive individual who utilises the space in front of him to great effect, often relying on his pace and skill to bypass the threat of an opponent.
Should Arsenal sign Angel Di Maria?
The lean winger is a natural fit for a Gunners side that is built on speedy attacking play. Similar to Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, di Maria is quick to offer his forwards vital support, often bombing up the flank to create space in promising areas. Wenger would be smart to give the player something of a free role, allowing him to cut inside and take responsibility for dragging defenders out of position.
Imagining an Arsenal lineup that includes di Maria alongside Walcott and Olivier Giroud, it’s clear the Gunners would flaunt tremendous speed and skill in attack. Should he head to North London, this trio’s ability to interchange and quickly bomb up the pitch is enough to make any opposition tremble under a never-ending workload.
At this stage of the summer transfer window, it's hard to imagine Wenger landing a player better suited to the Arsenal cause than di Maria. The Argentinian is exactly the kind of signing needed to rejuvenate both the fans' support of the French manager and the Gunners' chances of claiming major trophies once again.