Arsenal's reputation as not being able to compete with the rest of the Premier League's elite in the transfer market would appear to be on the decline following last year's £42.5 million move for Mesut Ozil.
But now Arsene Wenger enters a summer transfer window with heaps of expectation upon his shoulders, and those at the Emirates Stadium will be wanting some significant squad improvements.
Although the window doesn't open for another three months, the Gunners have already become closely linked with a number of transfers both expensive and otherwise, but some of the speculated targets stand out as being particularly sensible at present.
Josip Drmic, Nurnberg
Easily one of the more financially friendly options Arsenal may look to seal this summer is for the services of Nurnberg striker Josip Drmic, who's been a surprisingly bright point for the Bundesliga outfit this term.
According to the Daily Mail's John Edwards, the north London club could be able to sign Drmic for as little as £6 million, believed to be due to a release clause in his contract.
And the Swiss international is no flash-in-the-pan talent, either, with Squawka showing how prolific his form has been this calendar year so far:
Aside from his physical output, though, Drmic's mind may be in the right place for an Arsenal switch. Speaking to Bild last week (h/t Sky Sports), the forward denied Sky Deutschland's claims that he had agreed a move to Arsenal and that his "wife" had been spotted house-hunting in London:
"At the moment I am single and there is no one house hunting in London. What will happen in the future, I don't know. Any boy dreams about playing for Arsenal."
Hearing Drmic speak so favourably of the club will undoubtedly put Arsenal's hierarchy on alert, with a player's individual desire something that can't be guaranteed in every move.
Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
With Mikel Arteta creeping further into his 30s and the midfield duo of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey still going through injury pains in their early careers, Wenger may be wise to strengthen the core of his squad this summer.
And while the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky provide a more creative edge in the Gunners' line-up, it's steel that's required right now, and Morgan Schneiderlin fits that particular bill.
Speaking to the French media (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson) in March, Schneiderlin sounded open to an Emirates Stadium transfer, too, saying: "It is my dream to one day play at a great club. Arsenal? I have a three-year contract, so it will not be easy. It’s my dream to one day play at a great club though – so why not?"
It's an affordable sum for either side, but Schneiderlin's mix of disruptive tackling spliced with passing accuracy fits the mould of what Wenger requires to a tee. The FourFourTwo Stats Zone app shows just how impressive the Frenchman was in the first half of the Saints' 4-1 loss to Manchester City this weekend:
While he may not boast the massive profile of some others the Gunners might look to sign, Schneiderlin has the advantage of being a proven asset in the Premier League, and his attributes would slot in smoothly among Arsenal's existing resources.
Mario Mandzukic, Bayern Munich
Should Bayern Munich decide that Mario Mandzukic is surplus to requirements following the impending free transfer of Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, Arsenal would be smart to pull out all the moves in securing his talents.
Sky Football's Matthew Stanger recently quoted Bayern boss Pep Guardiola as saying that without Mandzukic, it would have been "impossible" for his side to win this season's Bundesliga title:
Indeed, Bayern remain confident in holding onto the striker's services, with club chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge quoted in Edwards' report as saying:
We want him to stay, and I remain fairly confident he will. But I know that many clubs throughout Europe want him, and that is not surprising. You only have to look at his scoring record to see his quality, so we will see what happens.
That quality to which Rummenigge alludes has produced 17 goals and six assists in just 19 league starts this season, per Transfermarkt, and Mandzukic would be a more mobile upgrade to what Olivier Giroud currently gives the side.
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