After losing out on targets Gonzalo Higuain and Bernard, Arsenal now come increasingly close to staring down the barrel of a deadline day ‘trolley-dash’ as they did in 2011.
Two summers ago the North Londoners sold captain Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri late in August and after an embarrassing 8-2 rout at Old Trafford, Wenger went shopping on deadline day, bringing in Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, and Park Chu-Young in something of a frenzied spree.
Despite insistence that the club wanted to get their business done early this summer and that they had the money to spend on transfer fees and wages to bring in top quality ahead of the new season, Arsenal have brought in only 20-year-old French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre.
Arsenal undoubtedly require a top quality striker after relying upon Olivier Giroud as their only out-and-out centre forward last term, following the untimely departure of Robin van Persie. After failing to agree to the demands of Real Madrid for Higuain who subsequently signed for Napoli, it would appear Arsenal’s eggs are all in one basket – Luis Suarez.
Liverpool are adamant the Uruguayan hitman is not for sale (for less than his £50-plus million valuation, anyway, cough cough, hint hint) and Arsenal have had two bids rejected, the latest an audacious £40,000,001 bid.
This one could go right down to the wire and I would anticipate that if Arsenal still haven’t signed a top striker from elsewhere by September, things could get even more unpleasant than they are already. We should probably prepare ourselves for helicopter rides, reporters standing outside gates stuffing microphones in people’s faces around the clock. In the end, I’m starting to believe it will go down like that.
However, a striker isn’t the only position Arsenal are light in their squad – they’ve released around 15 players and they only have three senior centre-backs at present. I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought in a late arrival of Toby Alderweireld from Ajax or PSG's Mamadou Sakho late in the day – something along the lines of the Mertesacker switch. I suspect whomever they bring in, it’ll be a man in his early twenties, proven in a foreign league, most likely from France, Germany or Holland.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have also failed in attempts to lure the likes of Lars Bender, Marouane Fellaini and Luis Gustavo to the Emirates – after letting young Francis Coquelin go out on loan I think it’s a certainty Wenger will bring in a defensive midfielder. I think this one could come a little out of left-field with a player like Etienne Capoue from Toulouse or perhaps Cheik Tiote from Newcastle which has been mooted in the past.
Apart from those areas, Arsenal need another goalkeeper after selling Vito Mannone. They need an experienced international to compete with young Wojceich Szczesny who needs to be kept on his toes. Rumours of QPR’s Julio Cesar have simmered a little but I’d be more inclined to expect a slightly younger fellow and someone who’ll be eager to impress and challenge for the number one spot – Rene Adler would fit the bill for that ideally.
image: © ruairaigh