Pep Guardiola is set to raid Arsenal yet again as he looks to fill the void left by Holger Badstuber. The German defender is out until March 2014 with a rupture of his cruciate knee ligament and Guardiola wants cover to his back-line in his absence. The Bavarian giants currently have Jerome Boateng and Dante as the first choice centre back pairing but have little options outside of that duo with Daniel Van Buyten in the twilight of his career at 35 and Badstuber out for the majority of next season.
It has been made no secret that Guardiola is keen to sign Laurent Koscielny but he has also added Thomas Vermaelen on to his shortlist too. Guardiola has a history of signing Arsenal players with Thierry Henry, Aleksandr Hleb, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song all making the switch from North London to Barcelona under the reign on the former Spanish midfielder.
Now at Bayern Munich, he is planning to use the same technique. He had already shown interest in Jack Wilshere, but the midfielder refused to entertain speculation about a move by committing his future to the club.
Koscielny formed a superb partnership with Per Mertesacker to guide Arsenal in to fourth place and therefore qualify for the Champions League but spoke out of a lack of ambition after hearing of Bayern Munich’s interest. He is also likely to stay at Arsenal for another season but wants to see more ambition from the coaching staff at the club, which could mean a big summer of arrivals for Wenger. The club has plenty of money to spend and should the Arsenal boss not spend it wisely, then he could lose his star defender.
Guardiola’s interest in Vermaelen started at Barcelona and has continued now the manager has moved to Germany. The Belgian has fallen out of favour at the Emirates and could look for a move if he is guaranteed first team football. The World Cup is one year away and Belgium are in pole position to qualify and so he needs to be playing to make sure he is selected in the squad should they make it to Brazil next summer.
Wenger would like the keep him to strengthen the club’s squad depth but could be tempted by offers. Pep Guardiola has also identified Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Jeremy Mathieu and Eric Abidal, with whom he worked with at Barcelona.