For the vast majority of Arsenal supporters, transfer talk remains something of a sore subject.
A failure to bolster their squad in January is viewed by many Gunners as a crucial factor in their faltering season in which they’ve gone from title challengers to top-four hopefuls in the space of a few months.
With a host of injuries to key men and a squad perilously lacking in depth derailing Arsenal's charge, Arsene Wenger will feel a little silly about dipping his toe into the January window instead of fully immersing himself in it. A few new faces would have surely given some momentum to the Gunners’ title aspirations.
According to John Cross of the Mirror, the Arsenal boss is keen to avoid starting next season with a squad rife with similar deficiencies. Wenger will sign a new deal and spend circa £70 million in the summer according to the piece, and already talk of transfer targets—both outgoing and incoming—are starting to grow increasingly prominent.
Here’s the latest roundup of all things Gunner-related when it comes to transfers, including the latest news on sales, acquisitions and more:
Inter President Denies Alvaro Morata Talks
Inter Milan president Erick Thohir has denied holding talks with Real Madrid over the signing of longstanding Gunners target Alvaro Morata. The 21-year-old forward is reportedly looking for a move away from the Bernabeu after failing to nail down a first-team spot under the tutelage of Carlo Ancelotti.
Despite being heavily linked with a move to the San Siro, Thohir said that whilst he did speak to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, it was nothing to do with Morata, claiming “there was no discussion about the transfer market. We didn't talk about Morata," per Sky Sports. Ancelotti also recently insisted he'd be sad to see Morata depart:
Arsenal were linked with a loan move for the Spanish forward back in January, per Rob Draper of the Mail Online, and although a deal couldn’t be constructed in January, more reports have surfaced in the past few weeks suggesting the transfer could be resurrected, per John Cross of the Mirror.
Inter are now reportedly in pole position to sign the young forward, having openly confirmed their interest, per the Press Association in The Guardian. But if he is available in the summer, then Arsenal should do their utmost to convince him to make the move to the Emirates.
He’s a player who Wenger could mould into an excellent forward, given the chance. Whilst still occasionally raw, Morata has all the attributes the modern game demands of its strikers: strong on the ball, quick across the ground and a cool head in front of goal.
Morata would possibly be second in the pecking order behind Olivier Giroud initially, but he’d get considerably more game time than he would at Madrid.
Inter look set to miss out on Champions League qualification this year, and that could be a crucial factor if the Gunners are to manufacture a deal.
Barcelona In Shock Bid For Mesut Ozil?
After having their transfer embargo lifted, Barcelona are reportedly keen on bringing Arsenal’s record signing, Mesut Ozil, back to Spain in a £30 million deal.
Per Paul Breen-Turner of TalkSport (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Mirror), the Catalan giants have a genuine interest in Ozil, who Arsenal brought to London last summer in a £42.5 million capture.
The German international enjoyed a fruitful start to life at the Emirates, but form and fitness concerns have blighted him in the latter stages of the campaign. This will prompt La Blaugrana to make a bid according to Breen-Turner:
He was close to joining them in 2011. Ozil is a very serious target for Barcelona and they will make a move. They’re talking about a figure of £30million, although I can't quite believe Arsenal would even consider.
Indeed, it is extremely difficult to see Arsenal offloading a player for £12.5 million less than what they paid 12 months ago. Especially a player of Ozil’s calibre. As you might expect, the suggestion has been met with scepticism by Gunners supporters:
Ahoy there silly season. The first Ozil to Barcelona rumour has been spotted...— Andrew Allen (@AAllenSport) April 24, 2014
Ozil is a player we will see the best of in his second year at the Emirates. For players of his style, it can sometimes be difficult to adapt to the raucous nature of the Premier League immediately.
But after a full pre-season with the Gunners, expect him to rediscover his sparkling best in the next campaign at the Emirates, not the Camp Nou.
Gunners Join Race For Danny Welbeck
Arsenal have reportedly joined Spurs in the race to sign Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck. The England forward has supposedly been considering his future after a lack of opportunities at Old Trafford, per Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, and could be on the move this summer.
According to Dave Kidd of the Mirror, the Gunners could be willing to part with £20 million to sign Welbeck from United. With the Red Devils set for a summer of massive transfer activity, it’s likely that Welbeck’s opportunities will deteriorate further next season.
Who would be the better striking option for Arsenal?
At 23 years old, he is a striker who needs to be playing games on a regular basis if he is going to make good on his undoubted potential. A fee of £20 million does seem a little steep, but Welbeck would give the Gunners some much-needed energy and dynamism in the centre-forward position.
He’d join Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs, giving the Arsenal squad a nexus of young, burgeoning English players.
Whether Wenger will be willing to pay that sort of money to acquire Welbeck remains to be seen. But the United man is a player who, given the opportunities, could really blossom at the Emirates.