Arsenal Transfer Tracker: Week of June 17 News and Rumours
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 at 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 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 holistic analysis. Make sure to check back regularly.
---LAST UPDATED: THURS. JUNE 20---
Ashley Williams Talks Stalling over Money?
---UPDATE: THURS. JUNE 20
Ashley Williams has been a rumored Arsenal target for some time, and with only three senior center-backs at the club (not counting Johan Djourou), those stories could certainly have some veracity.
However, one should be very careful about how much credence one gives to stories that come from The Sun.
Perhaps £10 million is a bit steep for someone who would, in all likelihood, be a backup center-back, but it is difficult to comment on this story without knowing how much of it is true.
It seems unlikely that Williams would be willing to ride the bench after being such an integral part of Michael Laudrup's Swansea side, but he would be a fine addition to Arsenal should he join.
---END OF UPDATE---
Is Laurent Koscielny Aching for a Move?
It only took a couple comments from Laurent Koscielny's agent this past week to send the rumor mill into overdrive with stories declaring that his departure from Arsenal is imminent.
Koscielny, who placed second in Arsenal.com's Player of the Season poll, was absolutely fantastic at the back for the Gunners, especially when they needed him to be late in the season. His stellar performances consistently kept Thomas Vermaelen out of the team, and left no doubt that the captain would not return.
It is reasonable to expect, then, that excellent teams would be interested in signing him.
However, Koscielny's contract with Arsenal runs until 2017, so the club has all the leverage in transfer negotiations. It would be very surprising to see him go anywhere this summer.
Ever Heard of Dimitri Payet?
If reports such as this one in the Daily Mail are true, Arsenal could be poised to sign their second winger from Lille in three years.
First Gervinho walked into the Emirates Stadium with his aimless dribbling and water gun shot, and Dimitri Payet might be next. Though he plays in Ligue 1, 12 goals and 13 assists are fantastic statistics, and any attention that he attracts is understandable.
However, could it be that an overeager journalist saw that Payet is French and plays in a forward position and immediately linked him with a move to Arsenal? We shall have to wait to find out.
Arsenal Have Been Added to the List of Nani's Potential Destinations
Few would be surprised if Nani departs Old Trafford this summer in search of pastures new, but don't expect that new land to be the pitch at the Emirates Stadium.
Sure, Metro have suggested that Arsenal are the "front-runners" to snatch the Portuguese winger, but I cannot think of a reason why this transfer would make any sense.
While the Gunners do need another striker, they have an adequate supply of wingers. And Nani is not Arsene Wenger's type of player, anyway: selfish and flashy are not traits highly valued by the Frenchman.
In short, don't hold your breath.
Nothing New on Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain has been at the forefront of Arsenal's rumored transfer targets since the end of the season, with reports indicating that Arsene Wenger is prepared to shatter his transfer record to acquire the clinical Argentine.
BBC Sport's David Ornstein claims that he's Wenger's primary target at striker, and is willing to move:
Arsenal priority a top cf. Higuain 1st choice & keen. #Afc also want 1 holding + 1 attacking mdf. No df unless any leave. Not in for Rooney.
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) June 16, 2013
No Arsenal fan would complain if Higuain actually does complete a transfer to the club, but there are so many variables and obstacles preventing that from happening that it is self-defeating to elevate one's hopes too much.