Every year, football fans are bombarded with a litany of transfer stories that bait them with sensational headlines and ridiculous rumors in an attempt to get them to click the link.
As Andrew Mangan of Arseblog wrote today, the media's business model is relatively simple: Attract people to your website through yellow journalism and let the corresponding advertising revenue flow into the coffers.
Perhaps there was more accountability in the old days when articles were produced exclusively on paper, a more expensive medium. Regardless, there exists today a remarkably large industry around the transfer market, the existence of which many have not seemed to catch onto yet.
Arsenal are frequently the subject of these guff stories. It's not really difficult to see why: Arsene Wenger's frugality combined with several years of relative mediocrity in the Premier League and a (now extinguished) nine-year run without a major trophy made the club fodder for a ravenous press.
Correspondingly, Arsenal fans tend to get very antsy around transfer season. As a result, there are a disproportionate amount of transfer stories about the club during every window, and many of them simply take advantage of supporters' anxiousness.
And the columnists need things to write about, so they say that Arsenal need numerous new players in various positions that do not need filling.
Take this recent column in Metro, which asserts that Angel Di Maria would be an excellent signing if Arsenal could nab him from Real Madrid. Sure, the Argentine is an excellent player, but Arsenal simply do not need more wingers right now. Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all compete for the position Di Maria plays.
The fact is that Arsenal have a finite amount of money to spend this summer, and it has to be apportioned so as to maximize the club's return on investment.
To accomplish that end, the Gunners must strengthen in three crucial areas: right-back, defensive midfield and striker.
The former and latter are patently obvious. Bacary Sagna, the club's stalwart right-back for the last seven years, just confirmed to L'Equipe (via Matthew Morlidge the Daily Mail) that he is leaving the club. And Olivier Giroud received virtually no support last season from a striker of even comparable experience and quality.
Consequently, both Sagna and Giroud were drastically overworked. The quality of the latter's performances clearly suffered, severely hurting Arsenal's title challenge.
The defensive midfield question is a bit more difficult because Arsenal already have two players who can fill that role: Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini.
But the former is beginning to advance deeper into his thirties (he is 32 years old), and the latter became more and more of a unilateral bit-part player as the season went on.
Arsenal need a dynamic player who can distribute the ball and dictate the tempo of a match like Arteta while intimidating the opposition and breaking up play like Flamini. And who better to do that than Morgan Schneiderlin?
The Southampton man has frequently been linked with Arsenal, most recently by Express. He has starred for the Saints during their time in the Premier League by demonstrating a remarkable calmness and precision on the ball while using his large frame effectively in the most physical league in the world.
He is not the sort of superstar who would demand to start every game, but he would quickly command the lone spot at the foot of midfield with his unique combination of talents.
The same is true of Queens Park Rangers' Loic Remy. Remy scored 14 goals on loan at Newcastle this past season but is now back with second division QPR and seems sure to leave for prime time.
He has oodles of Premier League experience and could compete with Olivier Giroud while not automatically relegating him to the bench, like a superstar would. Links with Arsenal first started to appear after he attended the Gunners' final home game of the season.
Serge Aurier, who, if signed, would compete with Carl Jenkinson to replace Bacary Sagna, is a special case. He is only 21 years old and has no Premier League experience; asking him to immediately make the jump to first-choice seems much too big a step.
But it would be a typical Arsene Wenger signing: a young player from Ligue 1 who no one has heard of but has vast potential. Wenger will have to trust his unparalleled instincts and skilled scouting staff to get the signing right before deciding in preseason who will be his starter.
Relying on Aurier and Jenkinson will be a risky strategy, but these, at least, are the areas in which Arsenal need to focus most of their transfer energy this summer. Most of the other stories are merely guff.
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