Arsenal missed out on Di Maria

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Benfica sensation Angel Di Maria - reportedly wanted by Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United - has revealed that Arsenal came close to signing him while he was at former club Rosario Central.

The Argentina starlet has already made 50 league appearances for the Eagles, and recently burst onto the international scene, winning three senior caps as well as scoring in the final of the 2008 Beijing Olympics football tournament.

As a result, a host of Premier League clubs have been linked with Di Maria, who is believed to be commanding a £36 million transfer fee from the Estadio da Luz outfit.

However, the playmaker has admitted that he was all set to join the Gunners, before the deal fell through when Arsenal failed to come up with the cash.

“I don’t know exactly what happened with my proposed transfer to Arsenal," he said in the News of the World.

“I was very excited about joining them but it never happened.

“From what I’ve been told, the transfer money that was supposed to appear, never appeared.

“And just a day-and-a-half later, Benfica heard about the problem, showed interest in me and quickly hired me.

“But I am sure that Arsene Wenger would have had a lot to teach me.”