With the transfer window set to open on July 1, there may not be a more eager fan base than Arsenal’s.
Arsene Wenger has been notoriously stingy on the transfer market in recent years, due in part to the club’s unwillingness to provide ample financial backing. That should change this summer.
After securing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and a Champions League berth, Arsenal have promised to give Wenger additional spending power in the form of approximately £70 million to use this summer, per David Hytner of The Guardian.
How Wenger uses that money, however, is still very much up in the air.
The Emirates boss is picky with his transfer signings—sometimes to a fault. He doesn’t have an excuse this year, though. With extra money to spend and some quality targets available, Wenger is in position to substantially improve his club this summer.
Let’s take a look at the latest on the Gunners’ top transfer target, as well as a player who could be on the move. We’ll also delve a little deeper into the latest rumours involving Wenger’s future with the club.
Big Game Hunting
Arsenal haven’t brought in an elite star at the height of his powers at any point in the club’s recent history. They certainly have a chance to change that this summer.
Gonzalo Higuain is set for a move to Arsenal after his brother said he is "close" to the club.
Speaking to Tutto Mercato Web this lunchtime, Nicolas Higuain denied the Real Madrid striker is set for a move to Italy and suggested he will in fact move to the north London side.
While that’s certainly a promising sign, there hasn’t been much to substantiate the general idea that Higuain will join Arsenal this summer short of countless rumours. Granted, the transfer window doesn’t open until July 1, but at that point, several clubs are likely to be in the mix for the elite striker.
Higuain has been linked to Arsenal for some time, but there haven’t been any new developments apart from his brother’s comments. For Arsenal’s sake, let’s hope he’s right.
There’s plenty of reason to believe that will ultimately be the case, though. Real Madrid have been linked to Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, as noted by Nadia Carminati of Sky Sports, and aren’t in desperate need of retaining Higuain.
Time will tell. Wenger’s history of squandering opportunities such as this doesn’t play in his favor, but Arsenal have the money to spend this summer. Provided another club doesn’t swoop in with a much more favorable offer, Wenger may break his dry spell with a massive signing in Higuain.
Out With the Old
With a Higuain deal seemingly imminent, Arsenal have no reason not to cut ties with Gervinho, especially after a Premier League season that saw the second-year striker fail to secure consistent playing time with the club.
Gervinho saw action in just 18 EPL matches last term, starting just 12. And as Ben Curtis of the Daily Mirror reported, it probably won’t be that difficult finding a taker:
Marseille have revealed their interest in Arsenal striker Gervinho, admitting he would fit the profile of player they are after.
French news provider 10 Sport claims Marseille have already contacted the 26-year-old over a potential move, suggesting his exit from the Emirates is drawing nearer.
None of this comes as much of a surprise. While Gervinho adds some depth up front, he hasn’t shown quite enough promise to make retaining him worth the risk—especially if Higuain joins the club this summer.
As quoted by Chris Wheatley on Twitter, Gervinho doesn’t seem too upset about it:
That Gervinho could be looking for a new start comes as no surprise given his limited playing time last term. Given the current situation, a split would be mutually beneficial to all parties involved.
In With the New?
Paris Saint-Germain has been rumoured to be interested in Wenger, and according to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, hiring Laurent Blanc won’t stop PSG from pursuing the Emirates boss when his contract with Arsenal runs dry:
Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the capture of Laurent Blanc as coach—but left the door open for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to join them next summer.
And if Wenger finally agrees to join his long-time admirers, Blanc will be axed—regardless of his achievements next season.
Of course, PSG’s interest looks to be a pipe dream at this point. Arsenal are doing everything in their power to keep Wenger in house—namely in offering up a sizable bankroll for Wenger to use in securing talent on the transfer market.
And according to Simon Mullock of the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are hoping to give Wenger a new contract to keep him at the Emirates in the future.
If Arsenal can lock up the 63-year-old to a new contract before next term, there won’t be much reason to worry about an exit to PSG. However, failure in 2013-14 could give Arsenal reason to worry about extending Wenger, especially if he brings in additional talent this summer and can’t make big strides in the Premier League this term.