Arsenal Transfer News: Big-Name Players Arsene Wenger Faces Fight to Keep

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

Arsene Wenger is sure to possess a summer wish list at this stage of the season after yet another disappointing league campaign.

The French boss is expected to significantly strengthen during the close season, but he will also face the difficult task of maintaining big-name players who might be lured elsewhere.

Here, we detail the latest news surrounding those who could seek a new beginning away from the Emirates.


Big-Name Players Arsene Wenger Faces Fight to Keep

Lukas Podolski

It's no secret that Lukas Podolski doesn't enjoy his lack of game time and wide positioning at Arsenal. The German forward admitted he "cannot be happy" when deployed sparingly by Wenger, reported prior to his two goals against West Ham, per ESPN.

Despite notching a duo of vital goals on the Gunners' quest for Champions League football, Podolski isn't going to receive any leeway. Wenger isn't willing to compromise on the former Bayern Munich star's lack of central appearances, as reported by Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent: "Lukas is the only one [of the attacking players] who is really a wide player. [Tomas] Rosicky is a central player, [Santi] Cazorla is basically a central player, When you do not have [Theo] Walcott it is very difficult [not to use Podolski as a wide player]."

Although Wenger admits he is "tempted" to give the player what he wants, this is unlikely to satisfy Podolski's needs. Lee Hurley of the Metro perfectly summed up an individual who is "deadly and dire," both able to win a match and effectively lose it with his lack of work rate.

The rumblings here appear ominous. Podolski isn't the type of player who would expect just 10 out-of-position starts across the Premier League and Champions League, especially during a season that climaxes with the 28-year-old's potentially last World Cup, per

Teams such as Inter Milan are reportedly interested in his services, noted by John Cross of the Mirror. The Serie A side are more likely to offer Podolski what he wants, which, at this stage in his career, he simply isn't getting at Arsenal.


Santi Cazorla

Alarm bells always start ringing when an Arsenal player discusses wanting to win trophies. Players such as Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie have exited with this ambition, all of whom have succeeded away from the North London club's nine-year trophy void.

Santi Cazorla recently suggested he could soon move on to do the same, per Sport 360 via ESPN: "I want titles and that is why I came to Arsenal. Every football player wants to win titles. We've gone many years without winning one. And if not, what I'll look for in my next destination is to have the chance to win."

Previous reports of Cazorla potentially signing a contract extension until 2017 contradict the player's comments, per BBC Sport. He would be heading toward 32 years old by the time that deal ends, giving the Spaniard little time to establish himself elsewhere.

Cazorla's vision and creativity is vital to Arsenal's centre. Although Wenger has made a career of purchasing players who are comfortable on the ball, the pressured boss won't want to lose one of his key midfielders heading into next year.

Similar to Podolski, Cazorla's quotes hint that if Arsenal's situation doesn't suit his needs, he could be on his way.


Laurent Koscielny

Perhaps most worryingly, Wenger may face a battle to keep Laurent Koscielny past the current season. The French centre-back has developed into a key component of Arsenal's defence, enjoying a decent campaign this year, leading to interest from Europe's top clubs, as reported by Matt Law of the Telegraph (subscription required):

Arsenal must fight off interest from Paris St-Germain, Monaco and Bayern Munich to convince Laurent Koscielny to sign a new contract.

His form has alerted PSG, Monaco and Bayern Munich, with all clubs aware Koscielny is on relatively modest wages of around £50,000 a week at the Emirates Stadium.

Stats from confirm just how important the 28-year-old has become:

Wenger may be forced into rewarding Koscielny's performances with a lucrative contract before long. Considering Per Mertesacker currently earns £90,000 per week and Thomas Vermaelen takes home £70,000 every seven days, per Law's report, Koscielny will be looking to be move up the wage ladder.

Losing the defender would force Wenger along the perilous road of having to find a replacement. It has taken time for Koscielny to settle at Arsenal, but now that he's in form, the battling defender is well worth tying up.

Such reports shroud Wenger's summer in anxiousness. As ever, Arsenal's ability to fall away in the title race ensures uncertainty remains around a talented squad. While the manager's stubbornness with Podolski is likely to end in a sale, Wenger may be able to tease Cazorla and Koscielny into committing by winning the FA Cup.

Whether Arsenal finally capture a trophy or not, it looks set to be a busy summer at the Emirates. 



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