Arsenal close to beating Chelsea to £52m star signing: Gunners nearing club record signing

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Arsenal are leading the race to sign unhappy Real Madrid star James Rodriguez with Spanish source El Mundo Deportivo claiming the North London side are ahead of Chelsea in the race for the South American.

The 25-year-old Colombian started just 17 La Liga fixtures last season with Zinedine Zidane seemingly not seeing the former AS Monaco man as a crucial part of his first-team plans.

This season has started in an even more precarious fashion with Rodriguez not even making the starting eleven for Real Madrid’s opening fixture against Real Sociedad, this with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo both being absent.

James Rodriguez

20-year-old wonderkid Marco Asensio is now ahead of James in the pecking order and has impressed by bagging goals in the UEFA Super Cup as well as in Real Madrid’s 3-0 La Liga win on the weekend.

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Arsenal had pursued Leicester City’s winger Riyad Mahrez over the summer before the Algerian penned a new deal.

Rodriguez would offer Wenger a fresh option in the final third but arguably this isn’t as crucial as the potential capture of a much needed centre-back or an out and out striker.

However Arsenal fans would no doubt be impressed by the calibre of such a capture, one that would break their club record transfer fee.

In his first season in Madrid Rodriguez bagged an impressive 13 goals and 13 assists in La Liga action alone but has struggled to retain a foot-hold in first-team affairs since Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez in the Bernabeu hot-seat.

Arsenal have of course successfully lured Mesut Ozil from the Spanish giants and will hope to repeat the feat before the summer transfer window slams shut.

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