It hasn't taken long for the summer transfer window to take over the football world, with the rumor mill already pumping out stories for football fans across the globe to feed on during the long offseason.
Unusually, Arsenal have gotten straight to business, already completing two deals for highly rated forwards Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. Nonetheless, Arsenal have been linked with plenty of other players, and it looks like the Podolski and Giroud transfers are only the start of a possible summer spending spree for Arsene Wenger.
At the rate that Arsenal get linked with players, it's nearly impossible to predict their transfer activity, but I'll try to do so as I predict all of the Gunners' transfers this summer.
However, the possible Walcott departure would be a much different situation than Van Persie's. My impression is that Walcott and his agent are interested in resigning a contract at Arsenal, but the club wants to take their time and see if Walcott really is worth keeping for another several years. In this case, Arsenal seem to be in control of keeping Walcott and it's their decision on whether or not they will.
In the end, I see Theo Walcott and Arsenal agreeing terms on a new contract. Although Walcott can be frustratingly inconsistent at times, "mercurial" is his middle name and on his day he has the potential to light up the right wing with his blistering pace and trickery.
If there's anyone who can transform Walcott into a more consistent attacker, it's Arsene Wenger, and I think he'll be looking to do just that, starting off by extending the Englishman's contract.
Robin Van Persie's transfer situation is currently the biggest story in the football world following his statement about not extending his Arsenal contract, and it looks like his several suitors are ramping up attempts to sign the Dutch forward.
Arsenal have the decision to either sell Van Persie this summer or let him run out his contract and leave for free next summer. I think it would be in the best interest of the club to sell him quickly to a non-English club, and move the club on.
People will try to say that Arsenal are in a crisis with the sale of Van Persie, but the club can start a new era without him and build the team around the likes of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere, etc.
The summer transfer window is young and Arsenal have already made good signings, so the Gunners can indeed win trophies without Van Persie, so long as they build on their already positive transfers.
As much as the rumors point to Van Persie joining Manchester City, I just can't see it happening. Maybe it's my Arsenal supporter's bias, but if Van Persie has any decency he would know that leaving for Man City would be a giant middle finger to Arsenal and everything it stands for.
Yann M'Vila has admitted he wants to join Arsenal. Arsenal need a defensive midfielder. This transfer seems like a no brainer, right?
Before the Euros, it seemed like Yann M'Vila was extremely close to completing his move Arsenal. The deal never fully materialized though, and since then Arsenal have apparently cooled their interest after M'Vila was involved in some dressing room bust-ups for France in their somewhat disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
I predict Arsenal will ramp up their interest in M'Vila again, and this time it'll solidify into the Rennes midfielder's transfer to the Emirates Stadium. Many think that Arsenal don't need a defensive midfielder as they already have Alex Song coming off of an excellent 2011-12 campaign, but there's another group of fans that beg to differ.
Song is Arsenal's most defensive midfielder at the moment, but not a complete defensive midfielder. His defensive discipline was a bit of a problem in the past season and it seems that he'd be best utilized as a pure central midfielder, being allowed to attack with some of the brilliant vision that he showed in 2011-12.
The capture of M'Vila would see Arsenal emerge as major title contenders for the 2012-13 season, as with four established midfielders (M'Vila, Arteta, Song and Wilshere) they'd have the squad depth to compete with the Manchester clubs.
While some sources have heavily linked Arsenal to signing Olympique Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, I don't see that deal happening.
Yes, it's inevitable that Arsenal will bring in a new backup keeper during this transfer window, after it's been made clear that current number two Lukasz Fabianski does want to leave the Emirates. But while Hugo Lloris at Arsenal would mean a feisty competition between him and Wojciech Szczesny for the number one spot, both goalkeepers are too deserving of the place for one to be left to rot on the bench.
Lloris is France's No. 1 keeper and has been remarkably consistent for Lyon in his four years there, while Szczesny has emerged as the solution to Arsenal's previous goalkeeping problems and looks like the one of the best young keepers in the world.
While Szczesny has shown that he does need some healthy competition for the No. 1 spot after some errors in the past season, he's also shown that he deserves his spot between the Arsenal sticks with his excellent reflexes and his command of the area.
All Arsenal need is a backup keeper that isn't prone to errors but at the same time won't knock Szczesny off his throne. It would be typical of Arsene Wenger to buy some established but relatively unknown Ligue 1 goalkeeper as a backup shotstopper, and I see him doing just that.
This one is by far my boldest prediction.
After Alan Dzagoev's dazzling performances in Euro 2012 which saw him score three goals for Russia, the 22-year-old was linked with a move to Arsenal as he was apparently watched by Arsenal scouts during the season with CSKA Moscow.
These rumors didn't hold much weight though, and the transfer hype surrounding Dzagoev has cooled down since Russia were shockingly knocked out of Euro 2012 in the group stages. Nonetheless, Dzagoev's performances are deserving of a transfer to a club in one of Europe's elite leagues, and if he does move then Arsenal look like favorites for his signature.
Arsene Wenger would be very wise to snap up the young Russian talent. With the likely departure of Robin Van Persie, Arsenal could use another source of goals and attacking creativity, two things that Alan Dzagoev could bring to the Emirates. He seems to be a "complete midfielder," as he can do everything from play a defense-spitting through ball, to take a powerful strike, to even score a header.
A move doesn't look like it's on the cards at the moment with the rumor mill much more focused on the Van Persie situation, but later on in the summer I boldly predict that Arsenal will ramp up their interest in Dzagoev and eventually sign him.