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Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Latest on Olivier Giroud, Thomas Vermaelen and More

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring their sixth goal with Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Stuart NewmanFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

For a club notoriously quiet on the transfer front, the rumour mill at Arsenal has been rather busy of late, cooking up stories leaving Gunners fans wondering exactly what is going on at the club.

Arsene Wenger's side are enjoying their best season for many a campaign, with the club still very much in contention for two doses of silverware, in part thanks to the goals of striker Olivier Giroud

The Frenchman has found the net 18 times in all competitions this season, but problems in his personal life could see the 27-year-old heading for the Emirates' exit door.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Mesut Oezil after scoring his team's fourth goal during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadium on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (P
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Following allegations of Giroud being unfaithful to his wife, Jennifer, the Sun reported Sunday, via the Mirror's Sam Adams, that she has given him an ultimatum. A source reportedly told the Sun:

"She's agreed to take him back, but only on the condition they leave London and England. He's desperate to save the marriage because he knows how stupid he's beenso he is going along with what she wants."

Giroud has come under scrutiny from Arsenal fans for not being the world-class striker that they think their club needs, and if he moves back to France, it would mean that the Gunners would have to find a replacement—with Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic atop their wish list.

With Robert Lewandowski on his way to the Allianz Arena from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, Mandzukic is looking increasingly likely to be on his way out despite notching 21 goals in all competitions this season for the Bundesliga giants, per WhoScored.com.

According to the Metro's Matthew Nash, Wolfsburg manager Klaus Allofs has distanced the club from a move for Mandzukic having previously been rumoured to be showing interest in the £20 million-rated striker. 

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

As talented a player as Mandzukic is, Nash reports that he doesn't fit into the plans of Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, though he would certainly fit into the plans of Wenger.

With 45 goals in 76 appearances at the highest level with Bayern, Mandzukic's credentials are clear for all to see; and his talent could prove to be the final piece of the puzzle that Wenger is building at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Thomas Vermaelen has been rumoured to be the answer to Manchester City's central defensive problems, according to Nash.

With neither Joleon Lescott nor Martin Demichelis settling next to club captain Vincent Kompany in the heart of defence, Nash reports that City manager Manuel Pelligrini is rumoured to be turning his attention to Vermaelen to form an all-Belgian partnership at the back. 

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

The 28-year-old has found chances at the Emirates few and far between this season due to the effective partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, meaning that the move to City could be very beneficial to his career.

Vermaelen signed for Arsenal from Ajax in 2009 and has been a virtual ever-present in the side since then, chalking up 142 appearances during his spell in North London—though just 13 of those have come in the current campaign.

Having a virtual trade of Giroud for Mandzukic would be a great bit of business, but allowing Vermaelen to leave the club would create serious problems at the back for Arsenal. If they want to continue challenging for silverware year-on-year, they need to keep hold of their solid Belgian, even if he plays a bit-part role. 

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