Arsenal Transfer News: Ozil, Benzema, Casillas And Di Maria; Wenger Targeting Real Madrid Quartet Ahead Of Deadline?

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Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger remains under pressure to spend big before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Arsene Wenger has refused to reveal the identities of his targets, but has again reiterated his optimism that signings will be made of ahead of the transfer deadline in just a week’s time. It has thus far been a frustrating summer for the Arsenal boss in the transfer market as, despite having a reported £70 million to spend, he has yet been unable to bring in anyone other than France Under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer. Arsenal have had a bid rejected for Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye in recent days, but Wenger has refused to be specific about the players he hopes to recruit.

"I will not give you any names because I think it would be unfair for the players and create some wrong hopes,” he said in his press conference before Tuesday’s Champions League playoff second leg with Fenerbahce.

 "I have no fixed day because the delays don't depend on us only. It's very difficult to predict,” he added. “We have not a fixed number [of targets], I just think we are a bit short at the moment. The most important thing is to focus on the quality of the squad we have and to play the football we want to play.

"I still am optimistic and I hope I will not disappoint you."

While Wenger wouldn’t go into details, reports in recent days have suggested that his plans have focused in on players who may be available from Real Madrid. France striker Karim Benzema appears to be the leading target to fulfill Wenger’s desire for a top level striker. However, the 25-year-old’s agent has dismissed the idea that Benzema could leave the Bernabeu, even with the expected arrival of Gareth Bale and rumored interest in Luis Suarez.

“We cannot fight against the rumors, but I assure you Karim will not go to Arsenal,” Karim Djaziri said, according to The Guardian. "There has never been any discussions and no contact has been established."

"We are working on a contract extension for three years," he added. "Discussions are taking place quietly, without deadline. Karim could well end his career at Real, the club of his dreams."

Madrid’s predicted imminent signing of Bale may have a more direct impact on the future of winger Angel di Maria. The Argentina international started on the bench for Madrid’s opening game of the season last week and is likely to be further marginalized if the Tottenham attacker joins the Spanish giants.

Madrid-based publication Marca has reported that Arsenal are prepared to pay over €30 million (£25.8m) to bring Di Maria to the Emirates. The story also claims that Madrid would be willing to accept the 25-year-old’s departure for such a fee.

Mesut Ozil is another Real Madrid player to be the subject of speculation. The arrival of Isco has already threatened the German’s role as the dominant central attacking playmaker in the side and Bale’s signing may limit his opportunities.

The Sun has reported that Arsenal are weighing up a £38 million offer for the player. It seems unlikely that Ozil will be sold by Madrid, however, and if he was available there is sure to be much competition for his signature.

Finally, with Wenger still seeking an experienced goalkeeper, Marca is the latest publication to report that Arsenal have registered their interest in Madrid stopper Iker Casillas. After a much-publicized falling out with former coach Jose Mourinho last season, the Spanish No. 1 was surprisingly left out of Carlo Ancelotti’s team for Madrid’s first La Liga outing of the campaign last week.

While Ancelotti has explained that no decision has been taken on which goalkeeper will be first choice long term, Casillas’s future will surely be made untenable if he continues to find himself playing second fiddle to Diego Lopez. Marca, though, believes that Casillas is not yet thinking about leaving the Bernabeu.

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