Monaco to scupper Arsenal’s return raid on Real Madrid

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The ways in which Arsenal have benefitted from arch-rivals Tottenham shipping Gareth Bale off to Real Madrid are multiple.

Firstly, they picked up Mesut Ozil during the closing stages of the summer transfer window, a signing that’s in part enabled them to build a four-point lead at the Premier League’s summit – a start that’s seen them shorten to 13/5 for the title.

It also significantly weakened their rival’s ability to challenge at the top of the division and as a result the white side of north London sit ten points behind the Gunners after 13 games.

Naturally, Arsene Wenger was keen to scoop the signatures of more disgruntled Madrid stars, whose noses remain out of joint following the arrival of the Welsh wizard and Angel Di Maria topped his list.

But, the latest attempts to develop Madrid/north London relations looks set to end in heartache as the Argentine winger is set to pick Ligue 1 challengers Monaco as his January destination.

Di Maria is thought to be frustrated with a diminishing role at Los Blancos, despite being named in 14 of Carlo Ancelotti’s 20 starting XIs this season. In fact, Di Maria has only failed to play any part in just two Real Madrid matches since the Italian arrived but is no longer a shining light on the Bernabeu wing.

Arsenal’s interest in the player is obvious after the Ozil move worked so well, but with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski both still ruled out, the need for reinforcements on the flanks is also a priority.

However, they are set to be toppled in their bid to land the fleet-footed former Benfica man with a move to the cash-happy French club seemingly preferred by Di Maria.

The lure of extra cash is sure to be the motivation here, as Monaco have slipped in their race for the Ligue 1 title and trail PSG by five points.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.