Arsenal target Kalidou Koulibaly after sealing Granit Xhaka

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Arsenal fans were treated to a rare splurge from Arsene Wenger earlier this week when a reported £30million deal for Granit Xhaka was confirmed.

The Swiss midfielder joined from Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach in the first piece of significant business from a Premier League club this summer.

As the deal has been confirmed so early, pundits and fans alike have suggested that the Gunners will undertake a summer of heavy spending with some expecting as many as three major first-team players to arrive by the start of next season.


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And it seems Wenger has every intention of strengthening his squad and is already looking at his next major transfer target. According to The Telegraph, that target comes in the form of Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

A new defender is thought to be the next priority for Wenger, who is acutely aware that both Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista were, more often than not, unconvincing alongside Laurent Koscielny last season.

Long-term concerns

And though Koscielny is widely considered to be one of the Premier League's best defenders, he is now on the wrong side of 30, which is a long-term concern for the Arsenal boss.

Calum Chambers is still highly rated at the Emirates and could be a solution in the future, but Wenger wants an established and experienced centre-back of international quality. Koulibaly, 24, fits the bill perfectly.

£20m asking price

The Senegal international has earned rave reviews in Serie A and has also landed on the radar of Manchester United and Chelsea. But, as with Xhaka, Wenger is hoping to jump ahead of his rivals with firm and assertive action.

Arsenal believe they can sign Koulibaly for around £20m and are more than willing to do business at that price. However, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is renowned for his tough negotiating stance so any deal is likely to stretch well into the summer.

New striker

If and when a new defender is signed, Wenger will then concentrate on bringing in an established striker. The Frenchman was happy with his options going into the new campaign but the devastating knee injury suffered by Danny Welbeck has forced him to change that view. The England international is expected to be out until February, which will leave Arsenal short up front.

Alvaro Morata is known to be their top choice, but the Gunners will have to be very patient if they are to sign the Spaniard. Currently a Juventus player, it is believed Real Madrid will activate a buy-back clause worth £23m before then making him available to Arsenal. Any deal is likely to cost in excess of £30m.

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Theo Walcott
Premier League
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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