As the Summer 2014 transfer deadline draws nearer, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are in for a thrilling end to the window.
Over the last few years, Arsenal have been criticised for being a selling club and critics particularly unnerve them about selling to rival clubs. The growing list includes Ashley Cole, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Robin Van Persie. There have been some less important transfers that have had less of an impact like William Gallas, Kolo Toure and Bacary Sagna, as of yet. However it seems as though the signings of Alexis Sanchez and co. has improved Wenger's mood, as he said he will be busy stating "75% of the work usually is done in the last two weeks."
Arsenal are still keeping an eye on want-away Edison Cavani, however Wenger is reluctant to pay what PSG think the striker is worth, a fee thought to be in the region of £55-£65 million.
Arsenal's lack of spending only fuels the opinion that Wenger will never pay over the odds, a theory strongly linked to the lack of silverware over the last eight years. But the recent wins in the FA Cup and Community Shield would have boosted the club’s confidence in what they can do. Big names have moved to the club, they can challenge for prizes; they have a range of talent and potential mixed with great experience so the further looks bright for the Gunners.
There have been five targets Wenger has enquired about. Firstly, Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema would be perfect for Arsenal and could link up beautifully with Olivier Giroud. Arsenal fans have been crying out for not only big names, but a goalscorer in particular. However, the enquiry was snubbed as Benzema's agent released a statement that he is not leaving any time soon.
The second target also plays in the Champions League; Marco Reus would provide a very influential creative spark alongside Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. Reus has been heavily linked within the last two weeks and would cost the Gunners around £35 million.
The third target may come as quite a shock to football fans; Cesar Azpilicueta. the Chelsea defender could be making his way to the Emirates stadium this summer. Even though Arsenal have just signed Matheiu Debuhcy as Sagna’s replacement at right back, Azpilicueta may come in purely to add competition to get into the Arsenal back four.
The proposed back line was thought to consist of Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gibbs with Callum Chambers being a valid replacement for the central and right side in defence. Monreal also provides cover for Gibbs but Azpilicueta is the name rumoured to be joining the Gunners. This could mean Nacho Monreal is on his way out the club and Atletico Bilbao would be the favoured destination if bets were going to be made.
Arsenal would be willing to offer the Spaniard a way out of Chelsea, where he is reportedly unsettled after the arrival of Felipe Luis who would replace him at left back. Arsenal could easily pick Azpilicueta up and again he would be perfect in providing chances from crosses and grabbing some assists for himself. The move would see a reverse of the ‘curse’ relating to Arsenal selling to rival clubs and this shows that Arsenal are adapting and are living up to their big name.
Another target who performed extremely well last season is also from a rival club; Petr Cech’s form for Chelsea would surely make him a 'must sign' for Arsenal adding the factor of the player’s availability. Arsenal's current keepers have been under scrutiny recently, in particular after the matches last season against the big teams in the top four.
Cech as we all know, is experienced at the highest level and at the age of 32 still has at least another four or five years left, just look at Brad Friedel and Mark Schwarzer. The shot stopper would only cost Arsenal about £2 million but there is the option of loaning the keeper for the year like other Chelsea keepers have done before, as seen with Courtois.
The Cech to Arsenal rumours have emerged due to the Belgian keeper’s return. Courtois will replace Cech almost indefinitely as Jose Mourinho will be looking to win the league this season and the Champions League to; Courtois represented Atletico Madrid at last year's Champions League so is a more than valid replacement for the ace which is Cech.
The rumours don’t stop at north London though as the Daily Mail report that Chelsea are braced for Petr Cech bids from Real Madrid, PSG and Monaco. However the new singing of David Ospina may lead the current Chelsea keeper to move abroad.
The next target is one that has been on Wenger's radar ever since January. Wolfsburg’s Luiz Gustavo. The Brazilian international would be a great signing for the Gunners. They currently have four midfielders which are left to cover the defence midfield role, only one of which is an out and out defensive minded player. Gustavo has proven over the last two seasons he is up to the standard required and would benefit Arsenal in their title pursuit. Although again, Wenger might be reluctant to spend the £18m required to bring in the Bundesliga ace.
Overall, these targets would improve Arsenal dramatically. If they could snap up one or two, particularly from rival clubs, they would easily be title contenders every year and maybe have a chance to clinch their first Champions League.
If Wenger plays his cards right the new Arsenal first team line-up could be as follows:
GK: Petr Cech - £2m
RB: Mathieu Debuchy
CB: Per Mertesacker
CB: Laurent Koscielny
LB: Kieran Gibbs
RM: Alexis Sanchez
CDM: Luiz Gustavo - £18m
CM: Aaron Ramsey
LM: Marco Reus - £35m
CM: Mesut Ozil
ST: Olivier Giroud
The bench could contain valid first team players including Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Azpilicueta (12m), Szczesny, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chambers, Flamini, Campbell, Podolski and more.
These players would cost Arsenal around £67 million but this shows that Arsenal need to adapt to the modern game in order to regain the glory days that they once had. New signings like these combined with the four transfers of Alexis, Debuchy, Ospina and Chambers would see Arsenal through a very successful transfer window and a very promising season.