Man United welcome Di Maria, Arsenal must bolster defence
Argentine winger to arrive at Old Trafford in British record deal, as United prepare for Milton Keynes
The Angel lands tonight! That's the opinion at least of the Manchester Evening News which reports that Manchester United hope to "have the British record signing of Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria wrapped up by Tuesday evening".
The Argentine reportedly jetted into Manchester on Monday for his medical and the MEN says that while the Red Devils have yet to release an official statement, it's "understood" that a fee has been agreed between themselves and Real Madrid that will surpasses the £50m Chelsea paid to Liverpool for Fernando Torres in 2011. How much exactly is still a matter for speculation but the MEN says it is "at least £60m" while the Daily Express puts the final figure at £63.9m.
The paper adds that United and Real spent Monday "haggling" over the exact fee – with Real demanding £75m - but a deal has now been reached which will net Di Maria around £190,000 a week over five years. Not a bad salary for a player whose teammates travel to the heady surrounds of Milton Keynes tonight to play the MK Dons in the second round of the Capital One Cup – the first time United have had to play at such a stage of the competition since 1995.
With less than a week to go until the transfer window slams shut Arsenal are leaving it nearly as late as they did against Everton if they're to bolster their fragile squad. Not surprisingly, given their dodgy defensive display in the 2-2 draw with the Toffees on Saturday, the Gunners want some reinforcements at the back and are said to be closing in on Roma's Mehdi Benatia.
The Daily Star claims that Bayern Munich have pulled out of the race to sign the 27-year-old Moroccan defender and that has considerably strengthened Arsenal's position. Apparently Manchester United are also interested but having just forked out £60m it seems unlikely they'll be able to afford what the Star says is Benatia's £30m price tag. Last week Benatia expressed his wish to join Bayern but it's reported that Roma "cancelled" a meeting between the two clubs and the deal has now gone as cold as a beach on a British bank holiday.
Meanwhile Goal.com claims that Arsenal still haven't persuaded Kostas Manolas to sign up. One might have thought the Olympiakos defender would be grateful for the chance to broaden his horizons with the Gunners, but apparently he "continues to stall over personal terms". Goal.com says that Arsenal and the defender's management team met on Friday, on the same day Manolas underwent a medical at the Emirates. But despite Olympiakos being willing to sell for £8m, the player is allegedly haggling over the fine print of his contract and now Goal.com claims that Roma are sniffing around, with the Italian club using the money they expect to make from Benatia to finance the deal.
Finally Talksport reports that Arsenal are within a whisker of signing William Carvalho after Sporting Lisbon "knocked more than £10m off their asking price". Taking its cue from the colourfully-named Portuguese rag O Jogo, Talksport adds that Arsenal still have some work to do if they're to land the 22-year-old midfielder, namely, send Sporting a player on loan. Sporting are said to have their eye on Yaya Sanogo, which means that either they've haven't seen the gangly French striker in front of goal or the Portuguese sense of humour is alive and well.
Sanogo has yet to score in nine league appearances so Wenger might seize the opportunity to offload him in return for Carvalho.