You know it's getting toward the end of the transfer window, because Arsenal are frantically trying to figure out their best options and do something before the deadline.
Arsene Wenger has already said that he's not going to panic buy and spend money on players who aren't going to help the club (h/t Matt McGeehan of The Independent). However, that's exactly what it's going to look like he's doing if he waits much longer to make a second purchase this summer.
Arsenal's performance against Fulham illustrated just how much talent this side has. The problem is that they're not good enough to challenge for a Premier League title. They still need those two or three world-class players to make the side whole.
There's still some time—albeit not much—to make that happen.
Here's the latest gossip on three of Arsenal's transfer targets as the window inches ever closer to its end.
Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil Not Going Anywhere?
On August 25, Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail reported that Real Madrid might sell Mesut Ozil and Angel di Maria in order to ease some of the financial burden following a possible purchase of Gareth Bale:
Real’s debt is nearly £516m and buying Bale takes their spending this century close to the £860m mark. They must now do as they did in 2009, when having broken the transfer record twice for Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo and signed Karim Benzema—more than £172m in total—they sold Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder on deadline day.
Neither player desired to leave and the coach at the time, Manuel Pellegrini, wanted both players to stay but his hand was forced. Robben moved to Bayern Munich and Sneijder to Inter Milan.
Di Maria has had assurances from team-mate Ronaldo and president Florentino Perez that he will be kept on but if Arsenal meet the £26m asking price, the Argentine will be told there is no place for him at Madrid. Ozil could find himself in a similar position if Madrid find a buyer.
Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were sold in 2009 to make way for Florentino Perez's new incarnation of the "Galacticos."
Madrid ended up looking a tad foolish when Sneijder helped Inter Milan to a Champions League title, and Robben was the driving force behind Bayern Munich's run to the Champions League final. Their former club, on the other hand, were bounced in the Round of 16 for the sixth season in a row.
Getting either Ozil or Di Maria would be tough, as Madrid would loathe to watch something like that happening again.
There's also the issues of both players saying they're happy to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.
At an Adidas event in Madrid, the German midfielder said, "It is an honour and a privilege to be part of this team. I am flattered that great teams are interested in me. But I have a contract at Real Madrid and I will stay. There is no discussion" (h/t the Daily Mail's Matt Barlow).
Di Maria echoed his teammate's sentiment, saying to AS, "I understand that the club is strengthening and they are precise in what they do. But I signed up to 2018 just a year ago and my desire is to stay in the Bernabeu" (h/t Sky Sports).
This shouldn't be considered the end of any possible move from Arsenal's perspective.
The best thing the players could say is that they're committed to Real Madrid. This way, if the players move, it's the club that comes off worse. The perception is, the players didn't want to move, but Madrid made them.
That's much better for Ozil and Di Maria saying they want out of Madrid. Then it would look like they're malcontents who don't care about the club. If they ended up staying at the club after that, the supporters wouldn't let them live it down.
Should Bale move to Madrid, there have to be some parts that would leave the Spanish club as a result. There aren't enough spots in the team to fit everybody in.
The Gunners should make sure they're keeping track of these two targets.
Jose Mourinho Backs Juan Mata, Again
One target Arsenal can forget about is Juan Mata.
Chelsea have made the deal for Willian official, signing the midfielder to a five-year deal (h/t The Guardian's Dominic Fifield). Much like with Madrid, Chelsea are looking at a surplus of attacking midfielders, and you'd expect them to move one or two before the window closes.
Just don't expect Mata to be on the move.
Jose Mourinho told The Sun (h/t Sky Sports):
There is no chance Juan goes. He had a very small pre-season after the Confederations Cup. And during that pre-season he was injured. He started training two days before we played the first league match. He played against Aston Villa and I decided to put him on the bench against United.
Arsene Wenger admitted his interest in Mata but remains realistic about the possibility of a deal with Chelsea (h/t John Cross of the Daily Mirror):
Well, yes. I like him. I have heard like you, because I watched the game last night, that Juan Mata could be on the market. I don't know... there is anyway a reluctance in England to sell to each other.
Mata is one of the best players in the Premier League. For him to go from Chelsea to Arsenal would be nothing short of a shock.
First there's the issue of Mourinho saying that he's not selling the player. Then there's the slim chance that Mata would go to one of Chelsea's biggest rivals, in the small chance he is sold. Lastly, there's the problem of Arsenal coming up with enough money to make the deal happen.