Di Maria and Ozil turn down Arsenal moves to fight for Real Madrid places
Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil have resolved to stay at Real Madrid and fight for their places even after the club sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, the Daily Mail has reported, turning down the chance to move to the Premier League with Arsenal.
Di Maria, a winger, and playmaker Ozil were widely considered to be the players Madrid would sacrifice in order to recoup some of the world record outlay on the Wales international, but they have each publically stated they intend to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu - as has Karim Benzema, the France striker who was also linked with a move to the Gunners.
Ozil was asked about Bale’s imminent arrival on Wednesday at a marketing event. “I am not afraid of this deal,” he said in reply. “I am happy to play with the best players in the world and I am sure I can manage this new situation in the team.
“I will stay,” Ozil continued. “I am happy to be at Real Madrid and proud to be part of this team. It is an honour and a privilege. I have a contract until 2016. I am flattered that great teams are interested in me but I have a contract at Real Madrid and I will stay. There is no discussion.”
Di Maria, meanwhile, used Spanish newspaper AS to make his stance clear. “I understand the club are strengthening and they are precise in what they do,” he said. “But I signed a contract until 2018 just a year ago and my desire is to stay in the Bernabeu.”
The Argentina international is however said to have caught the eye of Carlo Ancelotti with his effort of late, particularly since it became clear Bale was Madrid-bound.
Benzema is a favourite of the president, Florentino Perez and Madrid’s assistant manager and presidential adviser Zinidine Zidane, potentially safeguarding his place in the squad - although the Mail points out that a similar situation occurred in 2009, when Madrid encouraged Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder to leave following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal v Tottenham