Recent days have seen the idea heat up that, should Bale head to Real Madrid, the Spanish giants would open up to the idea of losing one of their current wingers, Angel Di Maria.
The Metro’s Massimo Marioni has suggested that the Argentine could move to the Emirates for a fee of just under £26 million this summer, which would significantly best the Gunners’ current transfer record.
Having said that, however, is Di Maria truly worth such an outlay considering Los Merengues would be purchasing a player currently looked upon as far superior to the South American, and from Arsenal's closest enemies, no less?
According to Squawka, Di Maria created 45 scoring opportunities in 32 La Liga appearances last season, a tally that Santi Cazorla managed to more than double in his own campaign. What’s more, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey both achieved very similar numbers, despite playing in generally more retracted positions, leaving some to question whether or not the creative talent on hand at the Emirates is already of a similar level, if not better than what Di Maria might offer.
It’s not just the Argentine’s supply that might be called into question, though. As we all know talent runs far deeper than just the figures.
As is fairly common knowledge, Arsene Wenger’s side operate on a promoted philosophy of passing football, an approach that Jose Mourinho perhaps wasn’t as sympathetic towards at the Bernabeu.
Functioning largely on short bursts of pace as opposed to the long bouts of build-up that Cazorla fits so well into, Di Maria’s passing accuracy was mediocre at best last term, averaging just 72 percent completion.
Would Di Maria be worth the £26m price-tag?
Granted, the 25-year-old’s responsibilities as a winger mean that such an attribute isn’t considered a priority for one in his position, but even Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all managed to maintain at least an 80 percent completion rate in the 2012-13 campaign.
While the transfers of players such as Bale might blow these figures out of proportion, £26 million is still a sum of money that one spends on a player that you can mould a team around, especially by Arsenal’s standards.
Di Maria is not that.
WhoScored.com moved to show just how wasteful the South American can be on Twitter, citing last season's shot success in the Champions League:
Ángel Di María: Has had more shots without scoring (25) than any other goalless player in the Champions League this season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 24, 2013
In fact, Ramsey, Walcott and Podolski also managed to finish with better dribbling success than their Real Madrid counterpart last season, showing just another area where he may not be considered up to scratch.
Due to his tendency to produce brilliant results from time to time, it’s easy to get carried away with what Di Maria offers, but it’s consistency that Wenger really needs in his squad and not just flash-in-the-pan ingenuity.
In this particular deal, Tottenham’s gain would not be Arsenal’s. There might even be cause to say that, considering the fees involved, it would be the club’s loss.