Arsenal are said to be edging the race for Angel Di Maria's signature, despite a plethora of European clubs snooping around the Real Madrid star, interest perhaps galvanised after the Argentinian's extra-time goal beat Switzerland in the recent World Cup round of 16 tie.
Despite posting a poor performance against the Swiss, Di Maria coolly slotted home a pinpoint pass from Lionel Messi to secure his first goal of the tournament on Tuesday.
The Spanish press indicate he is no longer wanted at the Bernabeu—even after positing a terrific season with the European champions—leading to plenty of interest from the continent's finest, per Hugo Cerezo of Marca and translated via 101 Great Goals:
The headline in Marca is that Di Maria has offers on the table from France, England and Italy.
On the interest from the Premier League, Man United, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea are all name-dropped as having interest in signing the Argentine attacking midfielder.
The report progresses to suggest the city of Manchester "has not convinced" Di Maria, and that the "economic power" of Arsenal—highlighted by their £42.5 million capture of Mesut Ozil—could see the North London side deemed favourites out of the Premier League bunch. Even so, Paris Saint-Germain are said to be the "number one candidate" for his arrival.
Despite Di Maria's smart transition from the wing to central midfield last season—a tactic engineered so Carlo Ancelotti could play him alongside Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo—he remains overlooked as one of Los Blancos' key men. In an alternate report, Cerezo says Di Maria is eyeing "a fresh start" after failing to receive a "great feeling of affinity" from the fans.
Arsenal supporters would likely rejoice if the Argentinian's boundless energy was brought to the Emirates. Di Maria's technical skill is up there with the best, while his work-rate is often overlooked. Even after he managed a minimal seven goals in 45 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League last season, his 22 assists underlines an individual who works diligently for the team, per WhoScored.com.
Gunners fans will surely remain wary of being linked to the player. Di Maria previously stated Jose Mourinho "turned me into a better player" and "helped me grow as a footballer," suggesting a Chelsea bid may turn a potential deal on its head, per Francisco Acedo of Sky Sports.
Di Maria's all-action style could propel him to stardom in any league across the globe. The 26-year-old's direct approach has the potential to make him a Premier League star, but for Arsenal fans, a lack of action in the transfer window could ensure he becomes another figure of frustration
The Gunners have tried and failed to sign stars such as Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gonzalo Higuain in the last year. While Di Maria possesses the quality to instantly improve Wenger's side, just like the aforementioned trio, his fleet-footed ways may see him sidestep an Arsenal deal if it isn't completed with haste.