Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Reports, Details on Arsene Wenger's Summer Plans

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2014

PORTO, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 1:  Jackson Martinez of FC Porto in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between FC Porto and Club Atletico de Madrid held on October 1, 2013 at the Estadio do Dragao, in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Miguel Riopa/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
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Arsene Wenger will reportedly receive £100 million to improve his Arsenal squad during the summer.

Although the current Premier League campaign sees the Gunners remain on course for silverware, favourites to capture the FA Cup, Wenger will have plenty of funds to improve the North London club's squad next season—reported by Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph:

It is understood that around £100 million would be available for squad strengthening, although this figure includes wages as well as transfer fees.

[...] It all means that Arsenal can afford a world-class striker in the £40 million price range this summer and still make one or two cheaper but substantial additions in other positions.

The Gunners are understandably linked with plenty of talent as we get closer to the summer. We take a run through the top targets who could realistically eat away at that £100 million fund, while focusing on the latest comments surrounding the player in question.

Arsene Wenger's Top Targets with £100M Budget

Jackson Martinez, Porto

Arsenal's push for a new striker will likely see Wenger chase speedy Porto striker Jackson Martinez. Linked with an Emirates transfer during the January transfer window, the Colombian forward suggested "there will be a chance of a move in the summer," reported last month by Jamie Sanderson of the Metro.

Wenger isn't the only manager said to be courting Martinez. Napoli director Riccardo Bigon recently confirmed his interest in signing the 27-year-old forward, per Sky Sports:

A lot was said about Jackson Martinez during the summer but with the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, things went very well for us. However, I don't hide that we are interested in him as well as other FC Porto players.

Martinez has enjoyed a fruitful season of 18 goals in 32 appearances across Porto's Liga Sagres and European campaigns, per, and can make himself one of football's most wanted strikers with an excellent showing at the 2014 World Cup.

Arsenal could certainly use his pace, power and lethality in front of goal and may opt for Martinez as a slightly cheaper option to many other world-renowned forwards.

Julian Draxler, Schalke

Wenger's interest in Draxler has been so consistent it's entirely possible an overzealous fan already has the German starlet's name printed on the back of their red-and-white shirt. This link dominated the winter transfer window, per Barney Ronay of The Guardian, and has continued to reappear since the market closed at the end of January.

Schalke expect Draxler to fetch £37 million via his buyout clause, per Neil McLeman of the Mirror, but Arsenal's interest may prove to be futile. Bayern Munich are now snooping around the versatile midfielder, reported by Ben Jefferson of the Express and elaborated on via German-based pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft:

Draxler's passing ability, confidence on the ball and willingness to bring his team-mates into play make him an excellent fit at Arsenal. Wenger could also develop the 20-year-old's game significantly, but right now, it seems his future remains in the Bundesliga.

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

Arsenal need a tall, powerful striker to provide Olivier Giroud with competition in the squad, attributes Karim Benzema naturally flaunts. The French forward is listed as a target by the London Evening Standard, but this link is likely to disappear after the player confirmed his happiness with the current Bernabeu setup.

Benzema revealed his desire to stay during an interview with French station Telefoot, which was uncovered by AS and reported by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

I am here for the moment. We will see if I stay for my whole career but, for me, Madrid is the best club in the world. There is nothing higher. I have been playing at Madrid for five years, which shows that I am not bad as a footballer.

Benzema has totted up 19 goals in 33 appearances during Los Blancos' La Liga and Champions League exploits this season, per, and is enjoying a memorable relationship alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

He could undoubtedly be the spearhead of a developing Arsenal side and is likely to garner major interest from around Europe if he becomes available.

Michy Batshuayi, Standard Liege

The least-known talent on this list has to be Michy Batshuayi, the 20-year-old striker who currently sits atop the top-scorers list in Belgium's Jupiler League. His 18 goals in 29 domestic appearances ensure he is on the radar of many, but in a moment of honesty, Batshuayi revealed he wishes to join Arsenal.

RTBF confirmed quotes attributed to the 8 million-rated player, via Sky Sports:

I don't think I will play for Standard next season.

I want to move on. Maybe I will think about a longer stay if we play in the Champions League, but I want to progress as a player. My preferred destinations are England or Germany. If you ask my favourite team, I'll say Arsenal.

It is a club with a good philosophy, where youngsters get their chance. I've been an Arsenal fan since I was a kid.

Although Arsenal fans will be wary of investing solely in youth, Batshuayi is showing all the signs of being a future star away from Belgium.

Wenger will need to make at least one major signing—think the likes of Draxler or Benzema—before improving his squad with other additions. Arsenal possess a confident, free-flowing line-up and have shown improved guile to grind out results recently, but Wenger needs further options across the pitch.

This is most apparent up front, where Giroud has been forced to do all the running this season. Should Arsenal wish to continue evolving and competing alongside England's best, it's signings such as those outlined above who can make the difference.


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