Where does one begin with Arsenal and Arsenal’s top transfer targets? First of all, we’ll be realistic here and hit the brutal truth which is that unless Arsenal is undergoing a change in policy or something close to veering away from the club’s sustainable stance, there’s going to be no going gaga splurging on major talent, Arsenal’s business model is built in a different more sustainable way than most and knowing Stan Kroenke and Arsene Wenger, that will continue. The club is similar to the German sides which all of Europe admires today for their fiscal responsibility and brilliant play.
As always with Arsene Wenger, the popularly linked players are many times ignored by him, he has a habit of pulling out the most outlandish buys, think Koscielny, Henry, Vieira, Vermaelen and countless more. Before we look at Arsenals top transfer targets, let’s look at the guys Arsenal has out on loan.
Players out on loan: Andre Santos, Djourou, Frimpong, Chamakh, Park, Bendtner, Denilson, Joel Campbell. Apart from Campbell, the overwhelming sense is we don’t want any of the others back in our colors.
Here’s a list of players we’ve been linked with lately and what I think the chances are that we actually get them.
Goalies: (Fabianski and Szczesny keep battling for the top spot while Mannone hangs in there, my thought is Fabianski will likely move on along with Mannone which will mean Arsenal will bring in a couple goalies or bring in one and promote another to take the third goalie spot – there’ve been comments that current youth keeper Damian Martinez is the best goalie at the club now. Szczesny has to learn consistency but he has all the tools to be a great one and he’s young, i think we stick with him and get an unknown cheap backup while promoting Martinez to the third spot)
Player AFC should have got: Jack Butland but he wanted to start somewhere not sit on the bench.
Victor Valdes – Good goalie but will demand top wages and is not going to come sit on the bench behind Wojciech Szczesny. Unlikely
Asmir Begovic – Another big name who likely won’t settle for a bench seat behind Szczesny. Unlikely
Julio Cesar – May happen. May come cheap but wages will be a factor. He is Brazil’s starting goalie and he’s quality but once again Szczesny is the number one and with Arsenal’s ethos, that won’t change BUT he’s the best of the names Arsenal has been linked with and the one goalie that’s definitely better than Szczesny and possessing the international and club level clout to bench the big Pole.
Simon Mignolet – A belief flies around the media that a keeper with EPL experience is a great thing to have so players like Mignolet and Begovic get their names flung around. He’s an okay goalie but no better than our big Pole. Unlikely
Costel Pantilimon – Huge Romanian who will likely leave Man City. He’s leaving because he wants opportunities to start, why would he come sit behind Wojciech? Unlikely.
Defenders: (At the fullback spot, AFC have Gibbs and Monreal so the left is set, the right back spot has Jenks and Sagna…Sagna is as good as gone so you can bet AFC will be in the market for a right back. It’s either that or promote someone from the youth squad – Yennaris, Coquelin could come in. The centerbacks are pretty set, Vermaelen, Kos, Lurch…the others are Squillaci and Miquel who is pretty young. Arsenal need a centerback or two without a doubt because Squillaci is done and Djourou doesn’t want to return and hasn’t done much anyway. The CB’s have performed well for the most part.
Player AFC should have got – Nico Nkoulou. He’s young and strong and probably wouldn’t have unseated Mertesacker and Kos this season but his versatility would have been useful and he’d have started the next season with his talent. Could still get him.
Ashley Williams – Good centerback prone to the occasional lapse in concentration. Swansea’s captain would know he was coming to Arsenal to be a backup but it could happen if the price is right. Might happen
Chris Samba – He continues to be linked to Arsenal based off rumors that swirled around before he went to Russia. He reportedly earns six figures at QPR. This is not going to happen. Even with a significant wage reduction, he’s not good enough for the Gunners. Unlikely.
Aleksandar Dragovic – Austrian centerback is part of a very young and solid FC Basel side. He smacks of the kind of player Arsene would buy. Could happen.
Tobias Alderweireld – Arsenal got the Verminator from Ajax and were close to getting Vertonghen from them too until they let him slink off to the old enemy. Tobias is the latest in a line of solid Belgian CB’s, strong and with excellent anticipation, Ajax would want a fair price for him is Arsenal willing to do that? Could happen
Nico Nkoulou – The 2nd best African player in France after only Aubameyang, this guy can ball. His versatility is a joy to behold. A man of many suitors. I am tempted to say unlikely but Arsene has a way with French speakers so could happen.
The fun list comes later, midfielders and forwards! Stay tuned!