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Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Latest on Thomas Vermaelen, Stevan Jovetic and More

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16:  Jordan Rhodes of Blackburn is challenged by Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal during the FA Cup with Budweiser fifth round match between Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2013

Arsenal were able to secure a Champions League berth after some drama on the final matchday. Beating out Tottenham for the final spot in the top four should give manager Arsene Wenger more options during the summer transfer window.

Wenger figures to have a busy offseason ahead as he attempts to bolster the squad. Even though the Gunners were thrilled to survive the UCL battle, the ultimate goal should be getting the club back into Premier League title contention.

It won't be an easy task, but a summer of smart moves by the club could help starting closing the gap on Manchester United and the other top sides. With that in mind, let's examine some of the latest transfer talk involving Arsenal.

 

Thomas Vermaelen

In order to acquire top targets, clubs must first make decisions about players on their current squad. Clearing space for new players to arrive is the initial step. One such example for Arsenal is Vermaelen, the veteran center-back and club captain.

The Gunners are willing to listen to offers for him after he struggled to make an impact during the final stretch of the campaign, reports Charlie Wyett of The Sun. Barcelona and Manchester United are mentioned as sides with prior interest.

Vermaelen represents a particularly tricky decision for Arsenal. His form dropped during his fourth season with the club. While the club needs more consistency in the middle of its defense, the Gunners would be forced to sell low on him. It won't be an easy sale for Wenger to make.

 

Stevan Jovetic

Jovetic is a coveted commodity that's been linked to Arsenal for awhile now. The 23-year-old Fiorentina striker scored 13 goals during the Serie A campaign and has been viewed as a possible answer to the Gunners' attacking questions.

It appears the club's interest may be starting to fade, though. Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reports the Italian club is seeking a gaudy £25 million for one of its main assets and Arsenal are already tracking Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid in case the Jovetic situation doesn't work out.

Arsenal must be aggressive in order to keep pace with the league's top clubs. Spending that much on a player who's still seeking elite form would be a risk, however. Wenger would be wise to wait out Fiorentina for a more reasonable asking price.

 

Kevin Strootman

Strootman is ready to take the next step after spending his entire career to this point playing in the Netherlands. The 23-year-old Dutch international has shined for PSV Eindhoven over the past two seasons. He's a well-rounded, box-to-box midfielder.

John Cross of the Daily Mirror reports Arsenal are expected to have £70 million to spend over the summer. Strootman is one of two midfielders listed on the possible list of targets alongside Maxime Gonalons of Lyon.

While Gonalons is mainly a defensive midfielder, Strootman would bring more versatility to the squad. He can play multiple roles and should continue to excel once he gains some valuable Premier League experience. It makes him a good potential fit for Arsenal.

 

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