Arsenal Transfers: 5 Targets for Arsene Wenger's £55 Million Spending Spree
Recently it was reported that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is lining up a £55 million assault on the summer transfer market, in the hopes of returning Arsenal to trophy winning ways. This rumour was given some credence by yesterday's news that the club has posted six-month gross profits of £49.5 million.
It seems that Wenger will have money to spend this summer. He could look to add some fresh energy and quality in the shape of Dijon star Benjamin Corgnet, or boost the firepower of his forward line with Anderlecht ace Matias Suarez.
As the prospect of a seventh season without silverware rapidly becomes a reality, the pressure will be on for Arsenal to be major players in the transfer market. Contrary to a popular notion often spewed forth by his fiercest critics, Wenger is not afraid to spend, as he has proven on numerous occasions during his Arsenal career.
Here are five players who could be prime targets for the cerebral Frenchman once he begins the business of restructuring his team for success.
5. Stephane Sessegnon, Forward, Sunderland
Benin forward Stephane Sessegnon is a class act with the ability to be a major asset for the Gunners. Arsenal have recently been linked with a summer swoop for Sessegnon and this author believes Wenger should seriously pursue a deal for the talented 27-year-old.
Sessegnon is an intelligent and technically gifted forward who is capable of providing a seamless creative link between the midfield and forward lines. His touch and pace would fit in well with Arsenal's flowing mode of play.
Sessegnon is a stylish attacker who could be deployed in a number of areas for the Gunners. The Black Cats star has the versatility and natural class Wenger loves in a player.
4. Matias Suarez, Striker, Anderlecht
Arsenal have been linked with a move for skillful Argentinian striker Matias Suarez for some time now. The 23-year-old is just the kind of pacey and clever front man that Arsenal's fluid passing style demands.
Suarez is a player blessed with keen creative instincts and an abundance of flair. He is a threat to score or provide an assist anytime he picks up the ball in attacking areas.
Suarez has the speed and flexibility to operate in wide or central areas and he could even take up a roaming role just behind a main striker.
Arsenal's plans to land the £10 million-plus rated hotshot may have been scuppered by recent reports that the mighty Barcelona are interested. Wenger should do all he can to secure the signature of a player who is rapidly on the rise and could support Robin van Persie or even offset the loss of the prolific Dutchman.
3. Olivier Giroud, Striker, Montpellier
Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud has apparently piqued the interest of Arsene Wenger. The 25-year-old is a bullish striker, able to offer a rare combination of brute force and technical prowess.
Giroud is said to command a potential fee in the region of £16 million, which could put Wenger off. But there is still plenty to recommend an Arsenal move for Giroud.
In the last few seasons, the Gunners have not looked as strong as they did when they were able to rely on the aerial threat of Emmanuel Adebayor. With so many attacking midfielders and supporting forwards in the team, the Gunners need a target man who is able to hold the ball up and link with the runs from these players.
Since Adebayor's departure, Wenger has searched in vain for a replacement. Neither Nicklas Bendtner nor Marouane Chamakh have been able to fill the void. Giroud has the attributes to succeed where that lacklustre duo have failed.
The French international is powerful and combative and offers a lethal threat in the air. With Wenger teaching him to refine the overall quality of his game, Giroud could develop into an awesome force for the Gunners and add that crucial extra dimension to their play.
2. Claudio Yacob, Racing Club
In the last two seasons, Arsene Wenger has been linked with a growing number of South American talents. The failures of the Wellington Silva experiment and the botched summer bid for Ricardo Alvarez have done little to dampen his interest in players from the region.
Reports have suggested that Wenger is chasing tenacious midfielder Claudio Yacob with a view to securing a free transfer swoop for the Argentinian international at the end of the season. This would be a smart piece of business by the Gunners boss.
Yacob has the temperament and attributes to be the proper defensive midfielder Arsenal need. Alex Song is being wasted in this position.
The Cameroon star's best qualities are his ability to do damage at the other end of the pitch. Song does not possess the positional discipline and sound tackling technique needed to effectively protect the Arsenal back four and break up attacks.
Yacob has these qualities in abundance. He is an aggressive anchor man who times his challenges well and is willing to maintain his position and resist the urge to break forward too often.
Not surprisingly, Manchester United are also said to be interested in the Racing Club standout. But the Gunners should act fast to tie up a deal for a player who could prove crucial to their tactical design.
1. Benjamin Corgnet, Midfielder, Dijon
Wenger's ability to identify talent in the French market is legendary. His impressive record of achievement in this area could be set to continue with the capture of Dijon midfield ace Benjamin Corgnet.
The 24-year-old has emerged as one of the brightest talents in Ligue 1 this season. Corgnet is an industrious midfielder with an eye for goal and certainly has the qualities to add something extra to Arsenal's midfield ranks.
He has found the net eight times this season and possesses the right quantities of drive and technique to become an active and skillful presence for the Gunners. Arsenal would have to fend off strong interest from Newcastle United, but this rumour certainly has all the hallmarks of a signing Wenger may seriously pursue.
The names on this list may not be the high-profile targets many feel the club needs. But the recent financial figures should not encourage fans to expect upwards of £35 million to be spent on one player.
These are the kind of sensible transfers with plenty of upside that Wenger will need to make to compete with the Premier League's big spenders.