5 Ligue 1 Players That Arsenal Should Look to Sign This Summer
Arsenal take on Hull City in the FA Cup final this Saturday evening, but the attention of many fans is already turning to what the club's plans for the summer will be—with challenging for league titles still the major goal.
It seems like every year it is suggested there must be major investment at the Emirates Stadium, and 2014 is no different. The question is, where to invest?
When Arsene Wenger is concerned, focus normally turns to Ligue 1, and while he hasn't been as prolific in that market over recent years, he has still procured some bargains in the form of Laurent Koscielny and the as-yet-unproven Yaya Sanogo.
Who, then, could be next to follow the well-trodden path from France to North London?
One position that Arsenal will definitely be looking to strengthen this summer is right-back, with long-term servant Bacary Sagna unlikely to remain at the club next season.
Luckily, Ligue 1 can offer an ideal replacement who just so happens to be a Gunners fan.
Per Goal.com, Arsenal have already opened talks with Toulouse over Aurier's signature and would be wise to secure a deal ahead of the World Cup where he will represent Ivory Coast.
An attacking full-back who looks to be proactive in his defending, Aurier took the French top flight by storm this year with six goals and six assists.
Centre-back is a position that Arsenal could doubtless use another quality option in their squad, especially with the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel reporting that Thomas Vermaelen's future remains uncertain.
Lorient's Bruno Ecuele Manga may well be the ideal solution at a more-than-reasonable price.
The Gabonese has been one of Ligue 1's top defenders for some time and will be familiar to the Gunners. Indeed, he will know fellow defender Koscielny very well having been a team-mate at Lorient.
Tall, strong and quick, Ecuele Manga has all the physical attributes needed to play at the top level and is also an accomplished technical defender. A move to a higher level is long overdue, and the Gunners could be the answer.
Arsenal lack a natural defensive midfielder of real quality, and long-term transfer target Maxime Gonalons is Ligue 1's obvious solution to that deficiency.
The Mirror's Steve Stammers reported in January that Gonalons, who has recently been linked with Napoli per Football Italia, was a target for the Gunners, and the Italians' interest should provoke action in North London.
Tall, strong and combative, Gonalons would add real steel to a midfield that is too often seen as a pushover, yet still offer the technical excellence needed to fit in with the Arsenal system.
His capture is really a no-brainer if available at a decent price.
Arsene Wenger is never one to pass up young French talent when it available, and that may well mean a move for talented PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to Le Parisien via the Express' Jamie Anderson.
Recently turned 19, Rabiot has been unable to secure regular starts in PSG's star-studded lineup this season and is believed to be considering his options.
With Anderson reporting that Arsenal may need to compete with Chelsea for his signature, the lure of regular action with the Gunners is a strong selling point.
A tall and elegant midfielder, Rabiot was excellent in a loan spell at Toulouse last season and has impressed in flashes when given an opportunity at PSG. His reputation among those who have tracked his development is excellent.
One of the stars of the 2013-14 Ligue 1 season, Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette has scored 15 goals from his second striker berth and also offers the option of attacking from wide if needed.
Wenger's side are often accused of lacking support for the central striker in terms of regular goal supply, especially in the absence of Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey for long spells of the season. Lacazette may just be the answer.
The Daily Mail's John Drayton suggests Arsenal interest in the player, along with both Liverpool and Newcastle. With his spell at Lyon seemingly coming to an end, it is now or never if Wenger holds real interest in the attacking talent.