Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Calling Fact or Fiction on Transfer Deadline Rumors
As we inch closer and closer to the end of the summer transfer window, the anticipation for new signings is reaching a critical point.
While his team does not require a complete overhaul carried out faster than a Las Vegas marriage, there are certainly some areas that could use reinforcing, especially following the departures of Robin van Persie and Alex Song.
As always, the press has been getting a little overeager in their speculation, so let's set the record straight and debunk the latest rumors swirling around Emirates Stadium.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa: Fact
Arsene Wenger has stated, somewhat uncharacteristically, that Arsenal are looking at one more defensive signing before the end of the transfer window.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa of Montpellier appears to fit the mold. The French defender operates primarily as a center-back, but can play anywhere along the back line, which would help lessen the impact of the inevitable injury crisis that strikes Arsenal's defence every season.
He also checks Wenger's boxes, cliched though they are, very well. He's relatively young at 23, French, has experience in Ligue 1 and can pitch in anywhere he is needed. As a bonus, he has proven to be a superb leader, captaining Montpellier to the title last season.
The one obstacle standing in the way of a move is the fact that he would be the fifth internationally capped center-back at the club, but it's always better to have an embarrassment of riches than to live in without.
Ibrahim Afellay: Fiction
If Ibrahim Afellay has really been given permission by Barcelona to leave the Camp Nou on loan this summer, as The Metro claim, this could, objectively, make some level of sense to Arsene Wenger who expects more loans than transfers.
However, having already made three high-profile attacking signings this summer, I seriously doubt that Wenger will pack his team with yet another crafty winger, though Afellay is undoubtedly talented.
Plus, if Arsenal really wanted him so badly, why didn't they negotiate his arrival as part of the deal that sent Alex Song to Barcelona just a few days ago? It doesn't seem likely that they would have suddenly become interested in Afellay in the space of a week.
I don't blame him for wanting to leave, but it's better for both parties if he avoids North London.
Cheick Tiote: Fiction
It's not surprising that Cheick Tiote was linked to Arsenal following Alex Song's exit, as he is the sort of uncompromising, disciplined defensive midfielder that many thought the Gunners required.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that Arsenal might not need a purely defensive midfielder at all. Against Stoke, Mikel Arteta was deployed in the pseudo-defensive "Makelele Role," distributing the ball very effectively and working hard to win the ball back when he lost it.
Based on his superb performance in what I'll call the "Mikelele Role," Arsenal will probably play with a holding midfielder instead of a purely defensive bruiser like Tiote.
And oh, by the way, Arsene Wenger ruled out the move himself.
Jesus Navas: Fiction, but It Depends
The Daily Mail have suggested that Jesus Navas could be brought in if Theo Walcott decides not to renew his contract in the next few days. Obviously, there are many different variables to consider with a deal as dependent on other factors as this one is.
Does Walcott want to stay at Arsenal? Do Arsenal want to sell him? And where would he actually go if both sides wanted to part ways? All of these questions could be expanded into articles of their own, but I think that the two sides will compromise soon, in part because Walcott doesn't have that many potential suitors.
If he stays, there is little need for a speedy, technical little winger like Navas, with Gervinho, Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrey Arshavin all able to occupy that role.
Yohan Cabaye: Fact
Arsenal don't need another winger very badly, but what they could use is another central midfielder who can play in more than one position. That very man currently plays in Newcastle, and his name is Yohan Cabaye.
The Gunners already have a fairly large contingent of midfielders when they are all fit, but, as we can see now, there are bound to be at least a couple out at any given time.
Cabaye could fill the "Mikelele Role" if needed, has the creative nous to occupy Santi Cazorla's position as the attacking midfielder and could easily slot in between the two where Abou Diaby has looked a bit rusty so far.
That is why The Daily Mail have linked him with a £15 million move, although that might be a bit much for Arsene Wenger to stomach.
Yann M'Vila: Get over It Already
All summer, we have been transfixed by every little development in the Yann M'Vila saga. At one point, we at Bleacher Report said the deal was "99 percent done," then the story fizzled out, then Arsenal weren't interested because of disciplinary issues.
Now, with Alex Song gone, the rumors have come back in force. This time, Express reports that Arsenal and its new revenues will battle Tottenham with its Luka Modric money for the signing that we've all been waiting for.
I'm sorry folks, but it's not going to happen.
Not only has the general manager of M'Vila's club Rennes said (via The Telegraph) that he could easily stay put, this has been as unlikely as anything for a while. If Arsenal really wanted the defensive midfielder, they could have and should have done the deal a while ago, as with the club's three other signings.
Plus, with Mikel Arteta's recent success and a lack of need in the very position that M'Vila plays, he wouldn't even fit in with the team. Sorry, guys, this one's over.