5 Summer Transfers That Could Transform Arsenal's Fortunes Under Arsene Wenger
It’s been an up-and-down season so far for Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal side, with the prospect of an eighth year without a trophy looming well and truly on the horizon.
The North Londoners are already out of both domestic cup competitions, while they face the daunting prospect of having to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Bayern Munich in their Champions League last-16 clash to remain in Europe’s premier club competition.
Meanwhile, in the Premier League the Gunners are currently fifth in the table, a point behind city-rivals Tottenham Hotspur, albeit having played a game more than Andre Villas-Boas’s side, in the race for that coveted fourth and final Champions League berth for next season.
So, we at the Bleacher Report have identified five summer recruits that would help to revitalise the club next season as Wenger prepares to spend his reported £70 million war chest (via ESPN) in order to bring silverware back to the Emirates …
Adrian Lopez Alvarez
Club: Atletico de Madrid
National team: Spain
Value: €15 million (via transfermarkt)
Percentage chance of transfer: 85
Wenger has been monitoring the Spain international since last summer, when Arsenal had an initial bid for the player rejected by Atletico, before the North Londoners returned with an improved offer (via the Daily Express) just before the January transfer window opened, only to again be rebuffed by his employers.
The 25-year-old would provide badly needed competition for the lone striking role for both Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud next season, with the added advantage that Adrian’s flexibility allows him to operate anywhere along the forward line in Arsenal’s favoured 4-3-3 formation.
Adrian, dubbed in some quarters in Spain as the "new Villa," also has both youth and an impressive scoring record on his side, having being the top goalscorer for Spain their 2011 European Under-21 Championship triumph with five goals in the tournament.
And while his numbers at the Vicente Calderon are not eye catching, with just 10 goals in 53 appearances for the capital club, that is partly explained by the fact that he has not been a regular under new coach Diego Simeone, who prefers to use the red-hot Radamel Falcao instead as his lone front man in attack.
Adrian has so far refused to sign a new contract at Atletico, which makes a possible end-of-season switch to the Emirates more than likely…
The Gunners have been tracking the Montenegro front man (via the Daily Telegraph) since the beginning of the 2011/12 campaign ,and the scouting reports that manager Wenger has received in the intervening period have convinced the Frenchman to break the club’s transfer record to bring the player to the Emirates this summer.
Jovetic, who has scored 11 goals in 20 Serie A appearances for his Florence-based employers this season, has the power, technique and character to succeed in North London, with the Montenegrin a suitable replacement for former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie.
And, with age also on Jovetic’s side, the front man is a much more appealing transfer proposition than the club’s previous No 1 striking target, Barcelona forward David Villa, with the only major stumbling block appearing to be Fiorentina’s €30 million asking price.
Jose Manuel Reina
With head coach Wenger believed to be unsure as to current first-choice Wojciech Szczesny’s long-term suitability at the club, with particular concern about both the Pole’s injury record and distribution skills, a summer move for Liverpool’s highly-experienced No. 1 seems a smart option.
The Frenchman has struggled to successfully replace previous established goalkeepers David Seaman and then Jens Lehmann at the Emirates, and it is understood that Wenger is keen to bring an established shot-stopper to north London so as to put much-needed pressure on Szczesny next season.
Reina, who Arsenal tried to buy for £20 million in the summer of 2010, has a contract at Anfield until 2016, although it is understood that he would been keen on a summer move to Arsenal and would even contemplate taking a cut in his £120,000-a-week salary to facilitate such a transfer as the Spaniard seeks a new challenge in his career.
As for Wenger and Co., they see the 30-year-old (via the Daily Mail) as drastically improving the current uncertainty surrounding the crucial keeping position, with his combination of experience, high-quality shot-stopping abilities and unrivalled distribution skills as being the perfect all-round goalkeeping package in the club’s eyes.
Now that Wenger has reluctantly, but finally, decided that he can no longer rely on injury-ravaged defensive midfield player Abou Diaby next season, the club should follow up their January transfer window interest in West Ham United’s Diame.
Not only is the Senegalese the right age, but he also has the power, skills and defensive awareness when sitting and shielding in front of the back four to be a real asset for the North Londoners next season.
What’s more, in these ever-changing times of financial fair play, the 25-year-old would at present only cost the club £3.5 million, which is the value of Diame’s current buyout clause in his contract at Upton Park.
The Gunners will need to act quickly, though, as not only are a whole host of other Premier League rivals lining up to buy the midfield player, but his employers may also attempt to increase his buyout clause to around £9 million.
And, with Wenger having tracked the player (via the Sun) since Dec 2011 before confessing his admiration for the all-action midfield player last month when he said (via talkSPORT): “He has a great presence in the games I have seen him have a big impact,” the only stumbling block that seems like stopping this move taking place in the summer is Arsenal’s concern about Diame’s poor recent fitness record.
One thing that has been abundantly clear in this dire season for Arsenal is that the club are seriously lacking an authoritative presence at the back that at present is not being filled by the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker nor the woefully out-of-form, out-of-position captain, Thomas Vermaelen.
In other words, a defender in the mould of past central-defensive rocks Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Sol Campbell, and Swansea City captain Ashley Williams could very well be that man.
Wenger is a known admirer of the powerful , no-nonsense Wales international (via the Daily Mirror), who is currently enjoying a sensational campaign at the heart of Swansea’s defence, and the Frenchman has watched him on several occasions already this campaign.
And, despite the defender having only just signed a new three-year deal with the South Wales outfit last October, it is believed that the Principality club would not stand in his way should the Gunners meet their £8 million valuation of the defender this summer, although the North Londoners would need to fight off serious competition from Liverpool for Williams’s signature.