Arsenal Transfers: 5 Late Deals Gunners Fans Would Love to See Happen
By Arsenal Football Club's standards, this summer's activity in the transfer window has been something of a revelation.
Despite the shadow of the now nigh-on complete Robin van Persie transfer saga perennially hanging over their dealings, Arsenal have managed to acquire Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla—spending a figure estimated to be around £37million, give or take a couple million depending on your source.
The nature of these deals is in stark contrast to Arsene Wenger's mentality of spending much less than his Premier League cohorts, a philosophy he is practically synonymous with.
There are still at least two weeks of the transfer window left before it closes, and Arsenal have been linked with both buying new talents and letting existing ones go—the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Song have both been linked with moves to pastures new.
With that in mind, let's analyze five potential moves that would give Arsenal fans something to cheer about as we enter the post-van Persie era.
Fernando Llorente, Athletic Bilbao
About a month ago, I authored a piece on why Fernando Llorente to Arsenal was both a viable transfer and an excellent idea should van Persie choose to leave. Though at that time, rumours of a move were rife, such suppositions persist to this day linking the Spanish international striker to the Emirates Stadium.
As a 6'5" classic centre-forward, Llorente is a potent threat with both his right foot and his head, as his 29 goals in 53 appearances for Athletic Club Bilbao can attest to. The real question mark hanging over this move would be whether Llorente could play alongside Giroud and Podolski in a front three with real success. He and Giroud especially are very similar beasts, yet their distinctions could make it happen.
A move for Llorente would represent a huge statement of intent from Arsenal, showing determination and resolve to shrug off the tag of a "selling club" by spending big on a truly world-class talent. Just ask van Persie's new club, Manchester United—he did this to them, after all.
At 27, he's younger than van Persie and could arguably grow into his boots in just a few months. Should this happen, I have little doubt Arsenal fans would go berserk.
Loic Remy, Olympique de Marseille
France international forward Loic Remy might just be allowed to leave Marseille this summer, in accordance with the wishes of chairman Vincent Labrune, courtesy of Sky Sports:
"We have three players we have agreed to let leave - Cesar Azpilicueta, Stephane Mbia and either Loic Remy or Andre Ayew."
A versatile attacker capable of playing across the final third (as France manager Didier Deschamps would testify), Remy, 25, would provide Arsenal with seemingly endless attacking options with which to boggle and befuddle opposing defences.
In the wake of van Persie's departure and the persistent rumours of a move for England international Theo Walcott, Remy would give Arsenal's strikeforce some bite and some guile without limiting opportunities for the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wings. 22 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions give some indication of Remy's ability to score, and notching eight assists is no bad feat either.
Arsenal are not the only English club interested in Remy, with Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United both perusing Remy as a transfer target, meaning Wenger would have to act quickly to capture his man. If he does, Arsenal will have landed an excellent, relatively young attacker who can contribute for years to come.
Kevin Mirallas, Olympiakos
Arsenal fans were introduced to Belgian international Kevin Mirallas when he twice featured for his club side against the Gunners in last season's Champions League group stage. And while he didn't get on the scoresheet in either of those fixtures, his scintillating form for Olympiakos last term earned him 20 goals from 38 appearances in all competitions.
Sky Sports revealed this week that Mirallas' agent and Arsenal had engaged in some sort of discussion, and Mirallas spoke highly of any potential move:
"Thomas [Vermaelen] plays very good at Arsenal and now a lot of Belgian players are in the Premier League," added Mirallas.
"(Moving to England) It's good for me, it's good for my family and it's a good opportunity, but I don't know...it's possible."
Yet while Everton have also been closely linked with the forward, the prospect of playing in the Champions League once more might sway the affair in Arsenal's favour.
After pushing the boundaries of Greek football, Mirallas would be welcome at the Emirates to help push Arsenal's title challenge and fill the void left by van Persie. Arsenal fans, certainly, would be glad to see him join.
Philippe Mexes, AC Milan
French international centre-back Philippe Mexes has allegedly made it clear his stay at AC Milan is over, according to the Mirror , which sparked fervent rumours of a transfer to Arsenal in exchange for the club's mercurial Danish attacker, Nicklas Bendtner.
While Mexes, at 30, may not be the youngest defender on the market, what he has in droves is experience at the very highest level, be it for France or for the likes of Milan and AS Roma in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League. This experience would prove invaluable to Arsenal's oft-criticised back four, giving them additional presence and strength to deal with the Premier League's most potent threats.
He would at the very least challenge for a starting place alongside Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, and provide defensive cover with Per Mertesacker as well.
This wouldn't set all Gunners' hearts alight, but it would certainly be a reassuring, sensible deal, if only to rid Wenger of a man who believes he's one of the best strikers in the world.
Nuri Sahin, Real Madrid
After a disappointing first season in Madrid, Nuri Sahin is looking to revitalise his career away from the Bernabeu, and a move to England, specifically to Arsenal, might just be the right way to do it.
First coming to the fore at Borussia Dortmund, Sahin was an integral part of Die Schwarzengelben in their Bundesliga-winning 2010-11 season, and his performances were duly rewarded with a move to one of the world's biggest clubs in Real Madrid that summer.
However, with the near-confirmed acquisition of Luka Modric, Sahin appears to have already found himself out of favour in the Spanish capital, and despite interest from Liverpool and Modric's Tottenham, he has singled out Arsenal as his preference should he move to England.
Whether Alex Song stays at Arsenal or leaves for Barcelona, Sahin can fit in the Arsenal squad with ease. His creativity, technique and vision make him a sterling replacement as well as an excellent teammate.
Before his move to Real, Sahin was spoken of amongst the very brightest talents in European football, and rightly so. Arsenal can give him the platform to work his way back into that conversation.