If two words sum up Arsene Wenger's dithering January transfer window, "Julian Draxler" would be it.
Despite constant speculation, the Frenchman failed to land Schalke's versatile attacking talent, instead plumping for Kim Kallstrom in a loan deal that largely turned out to be a waste of time. Wenger has a chance to hunt Draxler once more during the summer, as well as Queens Park Rangers forward Loic Remy, who is also linked with the club.
Here, we provide the latest news on both, as well as an update on Bacary Sagna's future.
Latest on Arsenal's Potential Transfer Activity
In: Julian Draxler, Schalke
Arsenal supporters are probably tired of seeing Draxler linked to the club. The German international, whose passing, long-range shooting and overall grace would fit in well at the Emirates, has gone on record to suggest he may stay in Gelsenkirchen.
"It is guaranteed that there will be speculation, but it's very, very likely I will play [at Schalke] next season," said Draxler.
Jan Aage Fjortoft, a German-based pundit, detailed the factors that could see Draxler stay:
Re: Draxker Nothing new! - Arsenal interest cooled - Most likely Bayern 2015 - will stay at Schalke now - been weak 2014— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) May 12, 2014
Wenger's potential use of Draxler determines how necessary he is to next season's plans. If the veteran manager wishes to deploy him in attacking midfield, a move can wait. If he is determined to advance Draxler's game into a striking role, similar to the tall forward presence he helped create with Robin van Persie, it would be preferable to snap him up soon.
In: Loic Remy, Queens Park Rangers (on loan at Newcastle)
Best known for his lightening quick speed and thunderous finishing ability, Loic Remy is exactly the type of natural goalscorer Arsenal need. He has been linked with the club during previous transfer windows, and as reports begin to re-emerge, could be subject to a tug-o-war between the Premier League's elite.
Paul Hetherington of the Daily Star suggests Everton and Tottenham Hotspur will push Arsenal all the way for his signature:
Belgian hitman [Romelu] Lukaku is on loan from Chelsea, but there is no guarantee he’ll be allowed to return to Goodison. Everton, therefore, are eyeing French striker Remy, on loan to Newcastle from QPR.
Remy, 27, also interests Tottenham and has been linked with Arsenal, too.
Remy netted 14 goals in 26 Premier League appearances for Newcastle, whose form continued to fluctuate, per WhoScored.com. Despite Olivier Giroud's best efforts, Arsenal's frontline lacked a sense of pace and lethality throughout the recently finished campaign, which saw the Gunners drop down to fourth after leading for 128 days, per Richard Beech of the Mirror.
Wenger would be wise to continue pursuing Remy. He is experienced in the Premier League, a proven goalscorer at the highest level, and should cost in the region of £10 million. These days, that's something of a good deal.
Out: Bacary Sagna
The contract saga that has threatened to break Arsenal hearts looks to be finalised. Sagna, who can leave on a free during the summer, has revealed he is likely to move on, per Europe1 and via David Kent of the Daily Mail:
I'm out of contract, as everyone knows. I still consider myself as an Arsenal player at present. But actually we had a small problem to agree with the club, and I don't think I'll stay at Arsenal at the end of the season.
Kent's report notes that Sagna is due to speak with Manchester City after the upcoming FA Cup final. The French right-back, one of Arsenal's most consistent players over the past few seasons, could celebrate his exit with a first trophy at the club.
Which player do Arsenal need most?
This is unlikely to please many supporters. Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie are amongst the names who moved on for a greater chance of success. Sagna's quality means he can challenge for a place in the starting lineup at any club, and also ensures Wenger will need to fill a major void at the back.
Fans will be hoping to see Wenger splash the cash. He stole the show with Mesut Ozil's capture last summer and needs to continue strengthening to maintain pace with Europe's best. Signings such as Draxler and Remy would not only sharpen Arsenal's offence, it would provide the team with galvanised strength-in-depth across vital areas.
The upcoming market will place Wenger under real pressure to improve Arsenal's fortunes, particularly if the side miss out on this year's FA Cup. Wenger has money, a patented style and the makings of a winning team. Now, he needs the conviction and savvy to make the Gunners great again, something that can be achieved with key buys.