World Cup 2014: Five Group A transfer targets for Arsenal – featuring ex-Gunner

Mario Mandzukic Bayern

The World Cup is not only football's biggest tournament, but it also serves as a shop window for players to impress onlooking clubs.

Arsenal are entering a critical transfer window, with the pressure building on manager Arsene Wenger. The Gunners are without a trophy in nine years, and whilst they have a chance to end that barren run in the FA Cup final against Hull City this weekend, they have to look to strengthen this summer.

Their title bid fell apart in the second half of the season, and with plenty of areas of concern in the side, Wenger should be busy this summer. There's just the small matter of the World Cup to consider, and as we all know, players that impress on the world's biggest stage attract interest, so who could Wenger target from Group B?

Luiz Gustavo, Brazil

The former Bayern Munich man was strongly linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium last summer, but chose to turn down a switch to North London in favour of staying in Germany with Wolfsburg. The holding midfielder has impressed this season, but allegedly has a £20m release clause in his contract, and with Arsene Wenger needing to add a defensive midfielder, he could look to add Gustavo again if he impresses at the World Cup.

Bernard, Brazil

A target for the club last summer, Bernard was one of the hottest properties in world football last summer after starring in Brazil with Atletico Mineiro, but the Gunners couldn't compete financially with Shakhtar, who lured the diminutive playmaker to Ukraine. Since then though, the political upheaval in Ukraine has thrown Bernard's future into doubt, with the 21-year-old suggesting he may leave the country this summer, and with Arsenal needing speed in attack, another bid could be on the cards.

Mario Mandzukic, Croatia

The Croatian hitman will be Niko Kovac's main man this summer, with the Bayern Munich star set to be relied upon for goals. The 27-year-old was something of wayward figure at Wolfsburg, but has become one of the deadliest strikers in Europe since moving to Bayern Munich, hitting 48 goals in just 88 games for Pep Guardiola's side. The impending arrival of Robert Lewandowski has thrown Mandzukic's future into doubt, and with Arsenal desperately needing a striker, they could prise him away from the Allianz Arena.

Nicolas N'Koulou, Cameroon

Wenger is no stranger to shopping in France, and has long been linked with a swoop to sign Marseille defender N'Koulou. The Cameroon international will be key to their hopes of keeping out the likes of Brazil and Croatia, but his club future looks somewhat murky. Marseille need to raise cash and could sacrifice some key players to bring in funds, and N'Koulou is tipped to be one of those. Arsenal are watching with intent, with cover needed for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny – especially if Thomas Vermaelen leaves this summer.

Alex Song, Cameroon

An Arsenal player for seven years after arriving from French side Bastia in 2005, Song blossomed at the Emirates Stadium, becoming a key player in 2011 before his switch to Barcelona at the end of that season. The midfield powerhouse has struggled to make an impact in Catalunya, and is expected to be sold this summer for a knock-down price. Still only 26, a North London return for the Cameroonian wouldn't be totally out of the question.

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