Much of the transfer talk surrounding Real Madrid prior to the outset of the World Cup was of the futures of Karim Benzema and Luis Suarez. The need for Los Blancos to satisfy their craving for a big-name signing comes with it a cluster of transfer rumours, and following the ignominy of Suarez’s biting debacle, Florentino Perez’s sights seem to have turned to Colombia’s newest star, James Rodriguez.
The 22-year-old was forced into the limelight this summer when his Monaco teammate, Radamel Falcao, was ruled out of the World Cup this summer after failing to recover from serious damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. He has taken the responsibility in his stride, currently topping the goal scoring chart with five goals to supplement his claim to be the current player of the tournament.
As rumours persist that the Colombian is set for a second big-money move in as many years, once again, it appears as though the business of Real Madrid could be inextricably linked to that of Arsenal. Last time, the deal to bring in Gareth Bale resulted in Mesut Ozil completing a record move to Arsenal. This time, the Gunners are looking to cash-in on Angel Di Maria’s uncertainty.
Madrid have never been ones to pass up an opportunity to sign a star name, even if it involves offloading one of their current stars in order to accommodate. Even after his best campaign yet in the Madrid white, Di Maria appears to be surplus to requirements.
Di Maria capped off an outstanding season with a man-of-the-match display in the Champions League final. He’s one of the more understated heroes of Madrid’s double-winning campaign, and a big player in the fortunes of Argentina’s World Cup success too.
It’s well-documented that Arsene Wenger is on the lookout for more attacking power this summer. Much of the backlash of their collapsed pursuit of the Premier League title focused on the lack of strength in depth in attack. The long-term absence of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Mesut Ozil saw their attacking potency seriously reduced as the season wore on.
Rumours surrounding potential moves for the likes of Julian Draxler and Antoine Griezmann suggest that the Gunners’ boss is keen to add a player of Di Maria’s ilk to Arsenal’s squad. A creative player who has the capacity to fill wide or central positions, who can add pace, trickery, and an eye for goal seems to be the order of the day. Whilst Lukas Podolski deputised admirably towards the end of the season, there seems to be a general consensus that he lacks the requisite quality to have an impact in the big games.
Di Maria’s versatility is another feature of his game which is particularly noteworthy. The shift to a deeper midfield role under Carlo Ancelotti this season was largely forced upon him, but he took it in his stride, combining an incredible work ethic in performing his defensive duties whilst also bursting forwards, initiating attacks from the centre, either through surging runs or cutting through balls.
As Madrid’s hierarchy seem focused in on the new flavour of the month, the policy of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ persists. Di Maria’s qualities may be deemed old news at Real Madrid, but plenty of clubs will be keen on securing his signature if he is on his way out. If Arsenal fans are looking for a new Ozil, cast your eyes once more over to the Bernabeu, because he may once more be coming from that neck of the woods.