Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Breaking Down Gunners' Most Coveted Targets

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 14, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 26: Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Anoeta on May 26, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly ready to spend big on the transfer market this summer. The prospective heavy investments should result in an improvement for the Gunners and heightened expectations for the impending English Premier League season and UEFA Champions League.

Rob Draper of The Daily Mail noted how Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis conveyed the club would have increased "financial firepower," and Wenger is looking to take advantage by targeting three specific star players:

The news that the club are thinking big, with moves for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain, Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan and Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender, will come as a massive relief to Arsenal fans after years of frugality and summers of losing their own stars.

Adding such talent to the roster provides the Gunners with an enhanced product on the pitch, which may result in closer competition with EPL powerhouse Manchester United. However, some of Wenger's apparent targets are more viable and realistic than others.

Let's take a closer look at the trio Wenger is most prominently coveting, according to the recent buzz on the rumour mill.

Ilkay Gundogan

In the aforementioned Draper report, the Borussia Dortmund central midfielder was cited as Wenger's top target of any player available on the open market.

According to Draper, it's going to take an unprecedented amount of money to land either of these three intriguing players for Arsenal—and it may take a far more exorbitant figure to acquire Gundogan.

Considering how strongly Wenger desires to fortify the Gunners' midfield, the demand will be high, thus driving up the asking price. Gundugan's stock is high, too, after being a key part of Dortmund's run to the Champions League final.

There is still a long way to go in the ever-developing transfer window dramatics, and what could sway Gundogan to join Arsenal is if Wenger can acquire enough assets, then make a convincing pitch to him that the Gunners will be a perennial contender.

Otherwise, it doesn't seem likely that Wenger will get his wish to land Gundogan, who is also drawing interest from Real Madrid. But Gundogan will essentially be indispensable if Dortmund wants to keep pace with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Gonzalo Higuain

One of the pieces that could intrigue Gundogan to flee Germany, snub Real Madrid and play in Holloway would be luring Higuan, a premium young striker who plays for the elite La Liga club.

The main reason Higuain is likely to sign outside of his link to Arsenal is that he doesn't start consistently for Real, whereas with the Gunners he would be a fixture in the starting XI for years to come.

In spite of the somewhat limited action, the 25-year-old notched 16 goals in 19 fixtures this past season, showing that he can produce against top-tier competition and proving his viability as an impact scorer.

Higuain could also be tantalized by the prospects of playing alongside the incumbent players on Arsenal's squad, including Theo Walcott, who would likely play on the wing and attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla.

The inconsistency of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski gives Higuain a chance to make a big splash in the Emirates.

Lars Bender

The German, who plays for Bayer Leverkusen, is another midfielder that will likely go for £15 million, and that may be the cheapest prospective price to pay amongst this trio.

Bender is worth the price, because he brings a defensive presence that would not only further fortify Arsenal in that regard, but also open up more opportunities for players such as Jack Wilshere to wreak more havoc on the attack.

The potential impact Bender would have could additionally lessen the need for Arsenal to spend on a stud centre back, and Arsenal already has solid cornerstones on defense in Nacho Monreal and Bacary Sagna.

It is worth noting, though, that Bender is comfortable with his current situation, and his Bundesliga club finished third in league play behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who met in the Champions League final.

Having said that, money talks, and the fact that Arsenal is willing to spend £15 million on Bender shows how serious the brass is about improving the club. Bender would be a key piece of the Gunners' puzzle for the immediate and long-term future.


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