Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Latest on Christian Benteke, Julio Cesar and More

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 30:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal appeals during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Reading at Emirates Stadium on March 30, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

It's a busy time for Arsenal. Not only are the Gunners currently caught up in a fierce race for a Champions League spot, but they are also preparing for the offseason.

It's certainly setting up to become an interesting summer at The Emirates.

The club is already been forced to fend off links between manager Arsene Wenger and big-spending French side Paris Saint-Germain (via ESPN). The transfer talk is also starting to swirl as Arsenal look to keep pace with their chief Premier League rivals.

Wenger must ensure the potential distractions don't become a major issue down the stretch, because the Gunners have virtually no margin for error.

As they focus on a weekend clash with QPR, let's examine some of the latest transfer buzz.

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke is enjoying a breakout campaign with Aston Villa. The 22-year-old striker has scored 18 goals in 32 league appearances, which ranks him fourth behind the likes of Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale. That's good company to hold.

He's been a rare bright spot for a side that appears it's going to narrowly escape relegation. Other clubs have taken notice.

Neil Moxley and Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail report Tottenham and Arsenal are both interested in making a move for him should Villa be unable to secure a new deal.

The Gunners have a committee attacking approach throughout the campaign. Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski have been the biggest contributors. They have lacked the true lead striker, though. It's a role Benteke would fill perfectly.

Julio Cesar

Whenever a club finds itself destined for relegation, the transfer talk is sure to follow. Key players, especially veterans in the second half of their career, are normally the focus. That's the case with Julio Cesar, who's had a solid season between the posts for QPR.

While the longtime Brazilian international isn't keen on a return home to play, he's already being tracked by Liverpool, Tottenham and the Gunners, according to James Dickenson of the Daily Express.

Manchester United had previously shown interest.

Wojciech Szczesny has continued to battle inconsistency in his third season with Arsenal. He's come on strong as of late, though. If he can help guide the club to a Champions League spot, finding another keeper will be less of an issue.

If not, Cesar is a proven option.

Lukas Podolski

It's been a season of streaky play and changing roles for Lukas Podolski. Recently, he's been serving mostly as a second-half offensive sub for Wenger but has scored just once in his last seven appearances. He still ranks fourth on the club with nine league tallies.

The up-and-down campaign hasn't dampened interest in the German star.

Jamie Sanderson of the Metro reports Galatasaray are weighing a possible run at the striker as they look to upgrade their attack.

Arsenal must tread carefully if Podolski does generate serious interest over the summer. They cannot afford to lose any attacking options without bringing another player in as an immediate replacement. He's still a valuable piece despite the recent skid.


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