Arsenal's Premier League season is now just three games away from completion and the Gunners need to position themselves at the front of the queue for incoming transfers, regardless of whether it will be Champions League or Europa League that will supplement their next Premier League campaign.
As this season starts to wind down, so Arsene Wenger and his staff must look to ramp up the recruitment policy at the Emirates Stadium.
If this season has taught them anything, one world-class signing does not make a title-winning side. There has to be serious investment in transfers now.
Let's take a look at the latest speculation.
Eintracht Frankfurt defender Sebastian Jung is interesting Arsene Wenger, if reports via The Sport Review that are attributed to the player's agent, Mino Grillo, are true:
In England we know Arsenal are very strongly on his trail for the summer.
They have had scouts watching him in the Bundesliga. There is was interest in the past from Inter, Roma and Milan, but no recent contact.
In Jung, Wenger would acquire a defender of great stamina who will run all day long and give the manager the attacking outlet he requires down the flank to complement Theo Walcott et al.
Per Squawka, Jung has completed six assists and had a hand in 38 separate chances during his 27 appearances in the Bundesliga. At just 23 years of age, and available for just £7 million according to Jamie Sanderson of Metro, he arguably represents a value-for-money alternative to Sagna.
Wenger is known to like a French player or two in his side. Newcastle's Loic Remy could be the next in a long line to make the Emirates his home.
Remy currently plies his trade a few hundred miles north at St James' Park on loan from Londoners Queens Park Rangers and has made quite an impression in the North East.
According to The Sport Review, in his 23 Premier League games, Remy has found the back of the net on 13 occasions and assisted in two others—a more-than-reasonable return in an underperforming side.
Wenger's counterpart, Alan Pardew, appears unconcerned by the link, per The Sport Review:
I think we’ve got a chance of keeping him and because I’m a positive person, I’d like to think it’s a good chance.
He’s had a good year here and is a good fit for this club. He wears the famous No. 9 shirt and it wears well on him.
While Pardew's stance is admirable, Louise Taylor of The Guardian details that Remy is "widely expected to leave Tyneside this summer."
His speed, awareness, quality of finish and ability to play as a lone striker or off of a taller target man could be just what Arsenal are looking for.
Schalke's Julian Draxler has been on Wenger's radar for a while now, but it appears that any move for the young German starlet may now be dead in the water.
According to Draxler's agent, Roger Wittman, in an interview with SportBild via Ben Jefferson's report in the Daily Express, the player is highly unlikely to leave this summer:
Why should a player leave the club if the club have just built a top team? I also think it's good if players stick to what they have signed.
It would take an awful lot to happen for one of the two of them to leave. And even then I'm not sure it would be possible.
The players understand that there is currently a lot of peace at the club and a lot of optimism about their future there.
Back in January, Chris Richards of The Daily Mirror reported that the two clubs had agreed a fee in the region of £35 million for the player, but the deal was never completed.
Although there is merit to having the youngster on the Gunners payroll, given that Wenger sees him as a project in the same mould as Robin van Persie, such a high fee could now prove prohibitive.
However, it would be a valid argument to suggest that for Arsenal to make the leap from also-rans to winners, a serious cash injection is necessary.
Alongside Per Mertesacker, Frenchman Laurent Koscielny has been in immaculate form at the heart of the Gunners defence, and it's no real surprise that the north London club have struggled without him in situ.
Arsene Wenger can ill afford to lose one of his most consistent performers, but as the player himself noted via Matt Law of The Telegraph, he wants to be a winner:
I want to lift trophies and to have a winning record. I hope the club will give me the means. If this weren’t the case, I’d look elsewhere. I want to win titles and I hope the club have the means.
I feel good at Arsenal and if the club can compete with the best, I have no reason to leave. But if it fights every year for Champions League qualification it’s hard psychologically to be under such constant pressure.
An FA Cup final victory therefore becomes imperative, as does a fourth-place finish in the league. Failure to secure either could see Koscielny head for pastures new, even if Arsenal do almost double his wages from £50,000 per week to £90,000.
His continued high level of performance has attracted Europe's footballing superpowers, with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco all prepared to offer the player significantly higher wages than the Gunners, according to Law's report.
As Koscielny's comments demonstrate, this is probably one of the most crucial of transfer windows for Wenger in his time at Arsenal.
While no one can deny that bringing Mesut Ozil to north London was a masterstroke, there has not been enough other quality to sustain a decent challenge on all fronts. It's about time the Gunners were considered as genuine title contenders again, not pretenders.
Keeping the wallet safely tucked away once again this summer could see an exodus later in the season, and far from a title challenge, Wenger will have a rebuilding project to contend with.
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