Arsenal Transfer News: Karim Benzema, Andres Iniesta Lead Giant Summer Plan

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2014

Real's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal during a  Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Paul White/Associated Press

Arsenal's FA Cup triumph has led to increased speculation toward the club's summer plans, with superstars such as Karim Benzema, Andres Iniesta and Ilkay Gundogan now linked with a move to the Emirates.

Neil Ashton and Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail suggest Arsene Wenger will have £100 million to spend on players such as Benzema, who is joined by Mario Mandzukic at the top of the manager's hitlist. Despite indicating Wenger's "priority" is to ensure Bacary Sagna and Lukasz Fabianksi remain at the club, the aforementioned article is one of many that suggests Arsenal supporters can expect an exciting summer.

Sticking with Arsenal's need for strikers, Steve Stammers of the Mirror claims Wilfried Bony "is a target" for Wenger. The Ivorian, who finished the season strongly with Swansea, would offer the Gunners a dominating sense of physicality up front—something Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo currently lack.

Heading into midfield, Ben Jefferson of the Express optimistically indicates the club could be in for Andres Iniesta, despite the midfielder inking a new contract in December. Barcelona's poor season, combined with Iniesta's suggestion "lots of things are over" at the club, may indicate a mass changing of the guard at the Camp Nou.

Wenger is reportedly hunting another newly committed midfielder in the shape of Ilkay Gundogan, according to an alternate Mokbel report. He is outlined as a "dream" target by Mokbel, who admits "the club fear he's unobtainable." Similar to Iniesta, Gundogan recently signed a new deal at Borussia Dortmund, meaning his price would likely far outweigh what he could have been captured for in January, per Sky Sports.

The same article highlights Lars Bender and Morgan Schneiderlin as potential purchases to strengthen midfield. James Milner's name also continues to circulate, per Sky Sports:

Loic Remy, Jackson Martinez and even Petr Cech are considered for moves to the Emirates in an ambitious rundown of targets, per Mokbel.

While many of the aforementioned names seem unlikely to arrive, Wenger will be expected to spend significant money throughout preseason. He has funds to deploy and must make up for a January transfer window that went a long way to defining Arsenal's slip from first to fourth in the Premier League.

Additional firepower could turn the north London side into title contenders. Imagining Benzema marshalling the opposition's area ahead of players such as Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla is certainly an attractive prospect.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal (R) lifts the trophy in celebration alongside Lukas Podolski (L), Mikel Arteta (2L) and Thomas Vermaelen (2R) after the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Giroud's lack of killer instinct thwarted Arsenal in big games during the recently finished season, ensuring Wenger must spend big to grab a striker who can easily net 20 goals a season. Added physicality is also needed to shore up a midfield that is easily overrun against powerful opponents.

Wenger would be wise to spend big this year. Despite his January dithering, the £42 million signing of Ozil suggests the Frenchman will act if the right player becomes available. Arsenal's FA Cup win is a fine platform to build on, as expectations are now loftier for next season.