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Arsenal set to strengthen with Spanish summer swoops?

An FA Cup final appearance apart, it’s been another season of stagnation for Arsenal. If they are to go one better and challenge for the Premier League title next term (10/1 with Coral to win it), then manager Arsene Wenger must spend big again.

The Gunners’ transfer record was smashed by a reported £42.4m move for Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil last summer, and it is to La Liga where they may look to once more.

It is the Emirates forward line that the tabloids claim will be top priority for Wenger during the close season. Arsenal may go to the Real route once more and sign attacker Angel di Maria in a £29m deal.

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City would not give the Gunners a clear run on the Argentina international, however, as compatriots Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta are all on the books at the Etihad.

This City trio will join Di Maria in national boss Alejandro Sabella’s preliminary squad for the World Cup finals. Tongues will wag – not least about how dignified Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini has taken the title in his debut season in England.

Di Maria has the likes of Gareth Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo to contend with a starting spot at the Bernabeu, so if Carlo Ancelotti cannot guarantee him first-team football, then he may be tempted to sell.

Claims in the Spanish press, meanwhile, say Wenger could splash out £24m to land Barcelona and Chile forward Alexis Sanchez. The exciting attacker, who netted the opener in an impressive Wembley friendly win over England, is also wanted by Serie A champions Juventus.

Sanchez, a 66/1 shot to be World Cup top scorer, has to compete with the likes of Brazilian star Neymar and Spain winger Pedro Rodriguez for a starting spot at the Nou Camp. An overhaul of playing personnel is being planned at the Catalan giants this summer, with manager Tata Martino’s future up in the air.