Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Set to Bolster Squad with Big Summer Budget

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2014

Arsenal's coach Arsene Wenger, right, hold the trophy aloft as he celebrates after his team won the English FA Cup final soccer match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Arsenal won 3-2 after extra-time. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Fresh off their thrilling FA Cup championship victory over Hull City over the weekend, Arsenal look to be putting themselves in position for a convincing summer transfer window by putting together a load of cash.

Step one in the quest to improve the squad entering 2014-15 was locking up long-time manager Arsene Wenger. That move was already in the works moments after Arsenal's FA Cup win, to the tune of three years, £24 million, per The Mirror's John Cross.

With the head man's future at Emirates Stadium seemingly settled, the Gunners wasted no time tossing the boss a cool £100 million to spend on top players. Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail reported on Sunday evening in the wake of Wenger's supposed re-signing that he will be given the largest summer window kitty in the club's esteemed history:

"Arsenal will hand Arsene Wenger a £24m contract and £100m transfer kitty in the next 72 hours after he ended the club’s nine-year trophy drought," per the Daily Mail

Some names have already surfaced as serious targets for Wenger in his quest to add world-class talent to the club, per Ashton:

Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema are among Wenger’s top striker targets. 

Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin are midfielders who have been watched extensively by the Gunners scouts, while Toulouse’s Serge Aurier, Southampton’s Calum Chambers and Manchester City’s Micah Richards are right-back options should Sagna depart.

Gunners fans should be ecstatic to hear that their club is planning for such a busy summer. Especially in recent seasons, Arsenal have become known as somewhat frugal spenders in the transfer market as opposed to their Premier League competition. 

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Of course, those fans will be the first to note that expectations might need to be tempered a bit after this report. Much was expected entering last summer's transfer window coming off promise after promise of big spending efforts, and a late club-record signing of Mesut Ozil wasn't enough to quiet a lot of the negative press entering the new season. 

Arsenal showed plenty in their 2013-14 season to suggest a revival is coming. They signed Ozil, showing they—at long last—just might put their money where their mouths are. They also started scorching hot in the EPL, becoming serious title contenders for much of the year and showcasing championship form for a stretch of a few months. 

And, perhaps most importantly of all, they broke the nine-year trophy drought.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

But by May, Wenger and company had seen their share of struggles and finished right where they were expected—in fourth and securing another year of Champions League football but not seriously contending for the title in the final month. 

The Gunners made serious strides over the past year, but there's little doubt given their performance in the season's latter half that improvements are needed. Whether it's a world-class striker or a much-needed upgrade in the midfield, upgrades will be necessary to compete with the talent-packed Premier League next year. 

It won't be by any strike of fortune that Arsenal land one of their potential targets. Mandzukic and Benzema both hail from valuable spots at elite clubs, and there are financial roadblocks with many other targets. 

But with £100 million to spend, Wenger and Arsenal certainly look to have enough flexibility to make one of the big splashes of the transfer window—a rarity in world football.