The Gunners have been linked with a number or exciting prospects in recent weeks and months – the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic, Marouane Fellaini, Victor Wanyama, Ashley Williams and even Wayne Rooney.
The North Londoners have reportedly struck a deal with Real Madrid over the purchase of Gonzalo Higuain but they have also been heavily linked in recent weeks and months with Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
Since the sale of Robin van Persie, Arsenal have relied on Olivier Giroud as their only recognized centre-forward and whilst the Frenchman had a decent debut season, there is little doubt Wenger requires another quality forward.
Higuain is exactly that – a quality forward who, at 25, is likely just entering the peak years of his career. His record in the Spanish capital is impressive and, for £22 million, he could have a substantial impact on the team and the club.
Stevan Jovetic seemed on his way to Emirates earlier on this year but it would now appear that deal is falling or has fallen through. Between the two targets, Higuain is the more proven player – he has been at Real Madrid since he was 19 and has developed at one of the best and biggest clubs in the world for the last 6 years.
Jovetic, at 23, has only just begun to make his mark on the continent and whilst there is certainly no doubting his quality, the Montenegrin could use a couple more seasons worth of experience before he reaches world-class level.
Meanwhile, the sale of Alex Song leaves Arsenal with a void in midfield – Mikel Arteta has been a revelation this term as a converted defensive midfielder but that is not his natural or preferred position.
Arsenal are heavily linked with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini who would probably be the best available option they could acquire for that position but at £22 million, he would represent a huge shift in the club’s and the manager’s transfer policy.
The likes of Celtic’s Victor Wanyama, on the other hand, would be the kind of signing one would expect Wenger to go out and buy – they could probably get him for around £10 million, give or take, and at 21 he’s got the kind of immense potential the boss has preferred to purchase and develop over the years.
The outgoing of Sebastian Squilacci and likely Johan Djourou means Arsenal will need another centre-back and they’ve been linked with a £10 million chase for Swansea’s Ashley Williams.
The Swans’ captain had a fantastic season this term and really stood out as one of the finest centre-backs in the league but Wenger already has captain Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
The latter pairing had a dominant 2013, finishing out the season in fantastic form and fitness and I wonder whether spending £10 million on another, effectively, first-choice option would not only be a waste of the club’s resources but also a waste of the player’s talents if he’s going to be sitting on the bench.
As for reports of Wayne Rooney swapping Old Trafford for the Emirates, I can’t see the club being inclined to spend £300,000 a week on his wages, never mind the transfer fee. I think if they want a striker, they’ll go with Higuain – he is the best option for their money.
Fellaini’s experience and record in the Premier League would make him a fantastic addition – he could fill that Patrick Vieira role for Wenger but I wonder whether his price is a little steep.
As for centre-back’s I think it would be a waste for both the club and the player to bring in Williams – there are many other options domestically and on the continent, available for cheaper who would be happy to play fourth-choice centre-back, as Djourou had in recent seasons. Williams is a quality player but I don’t see the requirement for him unless one of the current three goes out.
Pound for pound, the best player Arsene Wenger could, should and likely will go out and buy is Gonzalo Higuain – he has the quality to really take Arsenal back to the heights of dominating the league and genuinely challenging for titles. None of the other options (alone) could have quite as much impact on the team and the club.
image: © Jan S0l0