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Wenger in ‘last minute rush’ for Real trio

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WENGER-ARMSLONDON, England, August 30- Arsenal want to blow their entire £70million transfer budget on Real Madrid trio Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria as they bid to rescue a botched transfer window.

Arsenal – whose need for reinforcements became desperate yesterday when they were handed a very tough Champions League draw – have opened talks with Real chiefs over the triple swoop and received encouragement.

Despite all three players insisting they want to stay at the Bernabeu, Real will listen to offers for the trio as they look to balance the books after committing £86million to signing Gareth Bale from Tottenham.

Securing a deal for long-term target Benzema is Wenger’s priority, such is his desire to capture a world-class centre forward.

The Gunners are working frantically on a deal that could see all three arrive at the Emirates by the transfer deadline on Monday.

Arsenal confirmed the re-signing of midfielder Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer and have also been offered former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou.

However, there are fears within the corridors of power at the Emirates that they will not be able to land any of the high- profile targets before Monday’s deadline — a possibility that will anger supporters.

A summer that promised so much has produced very little and manager Arsene Wenger is facing a make-or-break four days.

With the deadline fast approaching there is concern that Arsenal will run out of time to complete the Real deals, particularly with the Madrid club highly reluctant to sell before Gareth Bale’s move is ratified.

Wenger also remains interested in Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Valencia keeper Vicente Guaita.

His need to sign at least one forward heightened yesterday after Germany’s Lukas Podolski was ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a hamstring injury. Lukas Podolski was carried off in Tuesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Fenerbahce with a hamstring strain.

The club’s medical team initially thought the former Cologne frontman would miss around five weeks. But Wenger has confirmed the injury is worse than first feared, with Podolski now set to miss more than two months.

There was better news on the injury front for Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, who have both been passed fit for Sunday’s clash against bitter rivals Spurs.

Ramsey (groin) and Wilshere (ankle) were doubts for the North London derby, but have now been passed fit.

Flamini returns to the Emirates

Likewise, Flamini is also in contention to make his second Arsenal debut against Andre Villas-Boas’s side this weekend after completing his move.

Flamini, who has been training with Arsenal since his release by AC Milan, and his representative Darren Dein held talks at the club’s London Colney HQ on Monday to finalise a contract.

The 29-year-old central midfielder made 153 appearances for Arsenal between 2004 and 2008 before leaving for Milan, where he spent five seasons.

He has been training with the Arsenal squad for the past month and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was delighted to have Flamini back on board.

“We are very pleased Mathieu has agreed to rejoin us,” Wenger told the Arsenal website, www.arsenal.com.

“He is a player of real quality, with a fantastic work rate and great mentality.

“As we know, Mathieu is a strong midfielder, but is also comfortable playing in defence too. He is a very good addition to our squad.”

Flamini’s return comes at an opportune moment, with Wenger currently deprived of midfielders Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to injury.


-Report by Daily Mail and AFP

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