Arsenal Transfer News: Mario Balotelli, Gareth Barry Fight on Cards for Gunners

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 15, 2014

BERGAMO, ITALY - MAY 11:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan shows his dejection during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on May 11, 2014 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger is taking no time in setting about the remodelling of his Arsenal line-up this summer, with the club already reported to be embroiled in a number of transfer battles.

The Gunners' 2013-14 campaign saw them once again suffer from a lack of squad depth, and it was a selection of key injuries that meant the resources left at Wenger's disposal proved insufficient.

In order to ensure the same fate doesn't befall their plight next term, Arsenal may look to follow the suit of others in concluding business before the 2014 World Cup gets underway, with signings both expensive and modest linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

 

Gareth Barry, Manchester City

HULL, ENGLAND - MAY 11: Jake Livermore of Hull City is closed down by Gareth Barry of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Everton at KC Stadium on May 11, 2014 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Having thrived on the opportunities afforded to him during a loan spell at Everton last season, Gareth Barry's stock is at a high the likes of which he hasn't seen for some time.

Arsenal are reported by the Daily Star's Chris McKenna to see good value in his free transfer, with Barry's contract at the Etihad Stadium having expired at the end of the 2013-14 season.

However, after squeezing good quality out of his temporary acquisition, the Toffees are providing stiff competition for the 33-year-old, with manager Roberto Martinez quoted as saying by McKenna last week:

After the Hull game. We will talk. The most important thing was to make sure this season was a real success for him especially, and then the parent club and ourselves. We will sit down and I'm sure we will get a straight answer in one way or another.

It's not a thing about finding a good contract or financial package, it's more about the next footballing chapter and where he can enjoy it next.

Fifth-place finishers Everton may see it as somewhat cruel that Arsenal are able to offer the advantage of Champions League football to Barry, for whom that key aspect may play a crucial part in his decision. 

 

Mario Balotelli, Milan

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 04:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 4, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It's only been 18 months since Mario Balotelli moved back to his native Italy, but the striker could already be on his way back to England's top flight this summer.

That's according to Jamie Anderson of the Daily Star, who reveals that the north Londoners are currently leading Monaco in the hunt for Balotelli's signature.

Italian expert James Horncastle quotes Ajax manager Frank de Boer in voicing his opinion of Balotelli's contributions to the team ethic:

Anderson writes that Rossoneri president Silvio Berlusconi has reached his limit with the former Manchester City badboy's attitude problems, and he is quoted as saying: 

"Balotelli cannot play like this. He did not understand."

Perhaps Wenger, a renowned disciplinarian, feels he has what it takes to tame the Italian international, but going up against the financial might of big-spending Monaco may prove a difficult fight to win.

 

Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton battles with Matej Vydra of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on August 17, 2013 in West Bromw
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

As one of several Southampton players to have seen his star rise dramatically over the last two seasons, Morgan Schneiderlin is currently a wanted man.

The Mirror's Joe Batchelor reports that Wenger is hopeful of linking up with his countryman but could face some rigid competition from Napoli.

The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg praised the central anchor in being called up to Didier Deschamps' France squad for the World Cup, highlighting his consistency in particular:

Mauricio Pochettino has broadened the Saints' horizons since taking over at their helm in 2013, and centre-back Jose Fonte says the Argentine is vital if the club wish to keep hold of their best players:

“By keeping Mauricio, you probably keep the most important players. It is something we talk about in the dressing room. It is massive that he stays.”

Schneiderlin is one of the club's more understated stars, but his presence in the Arsenal engine room wouldn't have gone astray during this season's absences of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, showing exactly why Wenger may be keen to recruit a man of his skill set.