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United and Gunners boosted by Real rejects

By Keith White

Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira have rejected the offer of new contracts at Real Madrid, the Spanish club's coach Carlo Ancelotti revealed yesterday – although the World Cup winner has not said he wants to leave.

Arsenal are reportedly keen on the 27-year-old, who has seen competition for a place in the Madrid midfield increase this summer with the signings of his Germany team-mate Toni Kroos and Colombia star James Rodriguez, while United are willing to spend up to £100m across the transfer fee and wages to take Di Maria to Old Trafford.

Ancelotti has previously given little away about the winger's future but yesterday confirmed the 26-year-old has asked to leave the European champions.

"Di Maria asked to go in the summer and has rejected an offer from the club." Ancelotti said.

"The player has to look for a solution. If when the [transfer] market closes he's still here, he will work with us like last season and there will be no problem."

Ancelotti said of Khedira: "It's a different situation to Di Maria. He's not asked to go. He's rejected an offer to renew, but has a year of contract. We'll see what happens."

* Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill sprang no surprises in the provisional squad for his first competitive game.

O'Neill's initial 36-man party will be whittled down ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia on September 7 with a friendly against Oman in Dublin four days earlier handing him a final chance to assess his options.

He said: "Oman will provide a good test to start our trip before we travel to Tbilisi. We are focused on the task in hand and look forward to the challenges ahead of us."

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