Arsenal’s newly found wealth has seen them linked with various stars from around the world but are yet to make a major signing. The club are need of good investment as they just scraped fourth place last season.
Gonzalo Higuain is the clubs number one target. He has been linked with the club since the season ended and has been on the radar ever since. The Argentine has grown tired of his treatment at Madrid and decided enough is enough, announcing he would leave on the final day of La Liga. Juventus and Arsenal both expressed an interest and after weeks of speculation, Juventus conceded defeat and signed Carlos Tevez instead.
Several reports stated a fee of £22 million along with personal terms had been agreed and only formalities were in the way of a deal. However, no confirmation came about. Madrid president Florentino Perez recently suggested no bid from anyone had been made for Higuain and that he planned to sit down with Higuain and manager Carlo Ancelotti to persuade the 25-year old to stay. The striker is still adamant on a move away and talks are unlikely to change that.
The Gunners need to start their transfer dealings but Wenger is right to be aiming for Higuain. The striker has the best conversion rate in La Liga behind Lionel Messi and scored an impressive 19 goals, with the majority of his appearances coming from the bench. Arsenal are in need of a player who can fully take advantage of goal scoring opportunities with numerous chances created every game. Olivier Giroud was a good signing but he missed a lot of chances, Higuain will make sure those chances will be scored. He should cost between £22-£25 million and with his peak years still to come, that price can be considered a bargain.
Should Arsenal fail with Higuain, their attention will be turned to Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker wants out of Anfield so he can play in the Champions League. Arsenal can offer him that. He originally spoke about the English media being the problem behind his will to move and that would rule out a move to London but he has encouraged the club after their £30 million bid was rejected which could mean he is interested in a move to the Emirates.
Suarez is a very talented footballer and is one of the best tricksters around but he comes with a reputation. He had an eight game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra and is currently serving a 10 match suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic. If he were to join the Gunners, he would be unavailable for the first six domestic matches due to that punishment. He would also cost significantly more with an initial £30 million bid rebuffed. A bid of around £45 million would probably get Suarez but that’s almost double Higuain’s worth and there probably wouldn’t be much of a difference of goals scored between the too. Still Suarez offers pace, trickery, flair and technical ability and would be a good addition should the Higuain deal go cold.
There has also been reports that Arsenal are preparing for a reunion with Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard left the Gunners two years ago to return to his boyhood club, making the opposite switch he made when he was 16, but has become frustrated at his game time. Arsenal have first refusal on the midfielder while Fabregas would consider the Emirates his only other destination should he want to leave Barcelona.
He stated last month that he wished to remain with the Catalans but that hasn’t stopped the stories. Fabregas would be a welcome addition to the Gunners team where he was a success for eight years before his departure in 2011. He was the king of assists at the Gunners not the mention the club captain and fan favourite. His goal tally wasn’t his strongest point but that improved in his final Arsenal years. His best attribute was, and still is, his vision and Arsenal still lack that amazing pass although Santi Cazorla has helped bridge the gap. Fabregas playing alongside Cazorla and Jack Wilshere would make the Gunners midfield feared once again but the midfielder comes with a hefty fee.
The Blaugrana will want to recoup as much of the £35 million they paid for him and would accept no lower. Tito Vilanova’s men owe the Gunners around £5 million from that transfer so a bid of £30 million could secure the signing. Although a big money move, Fabregas would be a hit back at Arsenal and there would be no doubt on if he would be worth it.
Defensive midfield is a position where Arsenal are desperate to strengthen. They suffered last season without replacing Alex Song sufficiently converting Mikel Arteta to play there, a role he performed admirably. They are now looking for a more natural player and have been linked with many players. Marouane Fellaini is the most coveted of these and is available for £24 million. That fee is his release clause meaning Everton have no choice but to accept if that fee is met, however that clause ends on 14 August so Wenger must be quick if he wants to get his man otherwise he would cost nearer £30 million.
He played a superb season for Everton and was expected to follow David Moyes to Manchester United but that has failed to happen so far. His height and strength would give Arsenal much needed steel in midfield as well as excellent aerial ability that would help Arsenal in set pieces alongside Giroud and Per Mertesacker. His eye for goal is also a great asset and he could even be considered a box-to-box midfielder. He was played in an attacking role by Moyes but confessed to want to play further back, an offer that Arsenal can fulfill. His signing would also refresh the dressing room and give fresh hope to the fans.
Defence has been the achilles heel for a couple of years now for Arsenal. Last season, they seemed to get the best balance conceding only four in their final 10 games of the season as well of keeping a clean sheet at the Allianz Arena, an incredible achievement on it’s own. Despite the impressive progress of the defence, Wenger is keen to add another centre-back to add squad depth. Seb Squillaci left the club last month while Johan Djourou has completed his loan to Hamburg leaving the Gunners thin in the centre. Thomas Vermaelen’s back injury leaves the club with only two recognised central defenders and Wenger wants back-up. Ashley Williams has been touted as the next defender to join the club but a deal has been off with Wenger’s refusal to meet the £10 million asking price. However, Vermaelen’s injury puts more pressure on Wenger to buy and Williams remains his primary target.
Williams was on the league’s outstanding performers last year having a big hand in their Capital One Cup triumph and record ninth place Premier League standing. The Wales captain’s tough tackling approach sees him pick up a few booking but the timing of his tackles means he normally wins the challenge. His eagerness to keep a clean sheet is a great asset and helps the whole team while he chips in with the odd goal. £10 million is high for a 28-year old defender who isn’t known outside of England but his talent is unquestionable and Arsenal would benefit having him.
All five players would be fantastic signings and would be considered a great summer of business but it’s unlikely all five will join. It’s a case of Higuain or Suarez for a striker spot while Fellaini and Fabregas could both join but Wenger wouldn’t spend £60 million on two players. Williams is a very feasible transfer and that is probably the most likely out of them all.