Finishing in the top four will be crucial for Arsenal this season, as the only way they will be able to keep hold of their star players, as well as luring any new ones in, will rest solely on Champions League football.
Like many other clubs, Arsenal have had their fair share of speculation regarding the incoming and outgoing players, but which names are actually linked with moves?
Over the past couple of months we have moved from country to country, as new players continue to be linked with Arsenal, and the rumours either die or Arsene Wenger kills them off himself, much like we heard when he mentioned Alex Song will not be returning to Arsenal next season; and also that Abou Diaby could be on his way out.
With some big names set to leave the Emirates this summer? Who will Arsene Wenger bring in to replace them, and in the same process, challenge for the title next season? Let’s take a look...
Understandably, losing Vito will not be much of a loss to Arsenal who have been linked with the likes of Victor Valdes and Rui Patricio, along with having two of Poland’s best in Lukasz Fabianski; whose contract is also set to expire, and Wojciech Szczesny at their disposal, losing Mannone is a matter of when and not if. The 25-year-old mentioned earlier in the year that he is contemplating a move back to Italy, in an attempt to further his career.
Another goalkeeper who could be leaving Arsenal, and is one of the positions where they are struggling in, Fabianski has been playing well ever since he claimed the number one spot in the team, but an injury setback means it is likely that Lukasz could be out for the season, resulting in his Arsenal career effectively being over as his contract will be expiring. Getting rid of two goalkeepers is a big risk to take, but if Arsenal manage to bring in at least one of the many goalkeepers they are being linked with, it should not be such a bad loss.
The news of Sagna wanting out of Arsenal is frustrating for the fans as he is a great full-back, but the frustration of not challenging for the title has obviously got to Bacary, much like it has to other former-Arsenal players, and we could finally be seeing Bacary Sagna leave the Emirates. It has been rumoured that Sagna rejected a two-year extension with the club earlier in the month, as French giants Paris Saint-Germain are looking to snap up the French International.
Another inevitable transfer, and one which has been coming for over a year now; Arshavin never really hit his top potential for Arsenal albeit some excellent performances for the Gunners, it is no fault of his own that he became noticed worldwide at the later stages of his career. Arshavin’s contract is set to expire in the summer and it is almost a guarantee that it will not be renewed, as various teams in Russia are looking to bring in the experienced Arshavin.
Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are two former Arsenal players who left the club whilst they wore the captain’s armband; and it looks like they could be losing a third captain in Thomas Vermaelen, as he is a target for FC Barcelona. Recently Vermaelen has been demoted to the bench after some less-than-impressive performances on the field, and Wenger has opted to stick with the partnership of Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, at least until the end of the season.
Although Podolski has just arrived at Arsenal this season, rumours have suggested that the German International’s future could be away from Arsenal as he has seen his role limited to the bench. Although he has reiterated that he is happy at Arsenal and wants to stay, rumours of a heated exchange with Arsene Wenger does not do Lukas any favours, if Wenger has lost his patience, then it could mean the end for Podolski, something the Arsenal fans would never want to see.
The latest goalkeeper to be linked with a move to Arsenal is QPR and Brazil goalkeeper, Julio Cesar who has been impressive in his time at the London club. With relegation almost certain for Queens Park Rangers, Cesar is a player who does not belong in the Championship, and Arsenal could be the team who allow the Brazilian an escape route from playing in the Championship; however a number of other clubs will also be interested in bringing in the experienced goalkeeper.
Along with Asmir Begovic of Stoke, Mignolet will remain the top goalkeeping target for Arsene Wenger as he looks to desperately find a quality number one who will make Szczesny fight for his place rather than be guaranteed one on a weekly basis. Mignolet is a goalkeeper with brilliant reflexes and one adapted to the Premier League; and with Victor Valdes not set to stay another year at FC Barcelona, Arsene Wenger would not want to wait an additional year.
The Swansea Captain has enjoyed Capital One Cup success with Swansea and will have the opportunity to experience Europe next season; the same would apply if he opted to join Arsenal too. Ashley Williams is seen as a potential replacement for Thomas Vermaelen, who is a target for FC Barcelona and Arsene Wenger is prepared to battle Liverpool in securing the Welshman’s signature.
A midfielder is another position Arsenal need to invest in, and Lars Bender is a player who Liverpool are also interested in. Rumours suggested that Bender was part of a £70million spending spree which would also see Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski join the Emirates, but as the rumours continued to circulate, Bender remains the only one out of the three still strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in an attempt to fix the midfield.
Another talented German who Arsene Wenger is interested in bringing in, although he has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, it seems as if Arsene will be ready to splash £15million on Draxler as he sets to step it up a level in time for the new season, where he wants to challenge for the title. It won’t be expected that both Bender and Draxler will both join the club, but Draxler is seen as the favourable option.
Along with Dzeko, Adrian Lopez and Burak Yilmaz; Aubameyang is a striker who has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal as his fine form in Ligue 1 has impressed many clubs around Europe. The Gabon International has made a name for himself in the French league with the likes of Rubin Kazan and Newcastle United being alerted by his talents, but Arsenal remain firmly in the hunt for the skilful forward, who provides a mixture of pace and skill and would present quite the alternative for Olivier Giroud.
Which players do you think Arsene Wenger will be targeting this summer? And which moves look like they could happen? Let me know below...
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