Arsenal's season has only just ended, so you know what that means: Transfer season is upon us once again!
Yes, with no actual football to occupy ourselves with over the long summer, we must desperately speculate about any potential arrivals and departures around the Emirates Stadium.
Perhaps there might actually be a summer of big spending in the cards for Arsenal? The club is flush with money from new sponsorship deals, and chief executive Ivan Gazidis has recently reiterated the organization's desire to challenge for the title again.
Throughout the week, I'll be keeping this slideshow updated with the latest Arsenal transfer stories, complete with some critical analysis. Make sure to check back regularly.
----LAST UPDATE: MON. JUNE 10---
---UPDATE: MON. JUNE 10---
This piece published on Goal.com is just one of a plethora of recent rumors that have linked Marouane Fellaini with a move to Arsenal.
In the unlikely event that this transfer materializes, it would shatter the Gunners' current transfer record of about £15 million. It would also significantly improve their midfield.
Arsene Wenger is already loaded with options in the middle of the pitch, but Fellaini's ability to provide defensive steel as well as creative nous is a rare and invaluable asset. A midfield that often lacked significant steel last season could use a big, imposing man like the puffy-haired Belgian.
While the amount of money that Arsenal would have to spend makes this deal unlikely, players tend to move when managers change. And David Moyes leaving Everton is quite a significant changing of the guard.
----UPDATE: MON. JUNE 3---
Rising Lyon star Clement Grenier is not officially an Arsenal player, but his words would indicate that a deal is all but completed.
From Fox Sports, via Sky Sports:
I have more or less made a decision about which club I want to join. I have made the choice for sporting reasons above all. Arsenal? It could well be them. There would be competition for places, but you get that at all big clubs and it does not stop me making my decision.
Though he is just 22 years old, Grenier has accrued 75 appearances in Ligue 1 for Lyon, and Dider Deschamps has played him for France on five separate occasions.
While he is clearly an emerging talent, Arsenal's wealth of options in attacking midfield might make it difficult for Arsene Wenger to give everyone sufficient playing time.
---UPDATE: WED. MAY 29---
Sorry about the transfer jargon. Apparently, Real want £25 million for the Argentine striker, and Juve would only put up £19 million.
In reality, the likelihood of Arsenal offering Madrid either of those sums is extremely unlikely. The former would shatter the Gunners' transfer record, which is approximately £15.5 million.
But if Arsene Wenger and Co. could somehow pull this transfer off, it would considerably improve Arsenal's attack.
---UPDATE: SUN. MAY 26---
After narrowly missing out on Christian Benteke last summer, Arsene Wenger could finally be ready to move for the Belgian striking sensation, who tore up the Premier League last season and is the reason why Aston Villa are still in the top flight.
Understandably, Benteke wants to ascend the hierarchy of football clubs after such a stellar debut season, and he has expressed his love for Arsenal in the past.
Now he's making a more definitive statement of his desires. As quoted in The Guardian:
If [Aston Villa] say I must stay, I won't necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career.
Arguably, Arsenal's most prominent need is another striker that can push Olivier Giroud. Benteke would certainly be that man.
---UPDATE: WEDS. MAY 22---
According to perpetual titillater John Cross of The Daily Mirror, Dutch striker Kevin Strootman could be on Arsene Wenger's menu.
Cross claims, somewhat simplistically, that Arsenal have £70 million to spend on new players this summer. While a far smaller amount of money will actually be spent, Strootman would not break the bank.
The Dutchman is a playmaker with an eye for goal. During an abbreviated season in Eredivisie, he scored six goals in 14 games for PSV Eindhoven. He is also known as a playmaker, and thus can be seen as a cheaper alternative to Stevan Jovetic.
However, because purchasing forwards from the Netherlands, where attacking play is encouraged, is a risky proposition.
---END OF UPDATE---
---UPDATE: TUES. MAY 21---
The creative striker would be a fabulous addition to Arsenal's very thin striking corps, adding versatility through his creative nous and ability to finish clinically.
Of course, a player of Jovetic's youth and talent will not come cheaply, but Arsenal have money to spend this summer, and a whole lot of reporters will have wasted countless words in pointless stories if this move doesn't go through.
Believe it or not, Arsene Wenger has actually confirmed that this move is in an "advanced" stage.
Sanogo ticks all the boxes for a stereotypical Wenger signing: He's young, French, a forward, quite talented, relatively unknown and of course, injury-prone.
Arsenal certainly need another striker after eking through the season with only Olivier Giroud. Gunners fans will hope that this is not the only reinforcement that is brought in up front this summer.
One of Arsenal's biggest needs this summer is a goalkeeper, and The Daily Mirror is reporting that QPR's Julio Cesar will be the man brought aboard.
The Brazilian certainly won't be long for Loftus Road, as Rangers will be forced to sell many of their best and highest-paid players to clear the books during their time in the Championship.
Cesar is too good to play in England's second tier, and he probably does not want to see out his final prime years there. A move to Arsenal would make sense and would provide Wojciech Szczesny with some valuable competition.
Whether Cesar would consider playing second fiddle most of the time to the emerging Szczesny is a different story.
Moving into the realm of the more ridiculous for a moment, there are reports floating around (such as this one in The Guardian) which claim that Wayne Rooney could miraculously leave Old Trafford for the Emirates this summer.
Half of that story makes sense. Robin van Persie has stolen much of Rooney's thunder at striker, and Shinji Kagawa performed brilliantly in the No. 10 role during his first season in England. Sir Alex Ferguson's incredible omission of Rooney from his final squad is probably a symbol of where the Englishman's future lies.
But with Arsenal? Hardly a chance.
First, United would never sell one of their best players to a bitter rival without exhausting literally every other possible option. And Arsenal would never be willing to shell out the massive transfer fee that Rooney would command, plus the exorbitant salary that he would demand.
Bacary Sagna has left the door to a move away from Arsenal very wide open.
From Fox Soccer, via Sky Sports:
I don't know what is going to happen. I could very well extend my contract here in London but equally I could leave at the end of the season. I only have one year left on my contract. We will see.
I have to see the directors again regarding an extension to my contract. Monaco would be a new challenge. I don't close any door to PSG, Monaco or Arsenal.
That's about as ambiguous as a footballer can be. With only one year remaining on Sagna's current contract, and a hungry Carl Jenkinson chomping at the bit to take his job, the 30-year-old might find himself searching for a new house this summer.