Arsenal

Arsenal Transfer News: World-Class Talent Shortlisted by Arsene Wenger

ST GALLEN, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 05: Mario Mandzukic of Croatia prior the international friendly match between Switzerland and Croatia at the AFG Arena on March 5, 2014 in St Gallen, Switzerland.  (Photo by Marc Eich/Getty Images)
Marc Eich/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2014

Arsenal are likely to be very active in the summer transfer window as manager Arsene Wenger looks to strengthen his side to make them genuine title contenders.

The Gunners sat atop the Premier League for more days than any other side last season, per the competition's Twitter feed, but ended up in fourth place:

Eventual winners Manchester City finished seven points ahead of the north London outfit in 2013-14, and greater depth is needed if Arsenal are to bridge that gap.

Let's take a look at who Wenger is targeting over the summer in order to make Arsenal more competitive next season. 

 

Striker Needed

MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 13:  Mario Balotelli smiles during an Italy training session at the Arena Amazonia on June 13, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Italy will play England in their opening group D match on June 14, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Vill
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud was the only Arsenal player to score more than 10 goals in the Premier League last season, per BBC Sport.

He was often isolated at the head of the Gunners attack, and a lack of back-up saw him fade away slightly in the latter stages of the season.

A new front man of genuine quality to partner and rival Giroud is absolutely essential at the Emirates and the Frenchman seems to agree, per InfoSport+ via Sky Sports: "I can tell you Arsenal will add a striker to the team. We need another striker. Great clubs have several good strikers, who compete with each other." 

Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic is reportedly on Wenger's shortlist, per James Dickenson in the Express, and the Croatian is eager to leave the Bavarian outfit, per ESPN FC:

He would certainly add a great deal of quality to Arsenal's attack and is proven at the highest level, having won the Champions League and bagged 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season, per WhoScored.com.  

Mandzukic is a particularly talented aerial threat, per Opta, and his heading ability and physical presence could add a new dimension to Arsenal's play:

Aside from the Croatian, Wenger reportedly has Mario Balotelli and Karim Benzema on his striker shortlist, per 101 Great Goals: 

Either of them would provide the goals that Arsenal need, although the Italian Balotelli's temperament could be an issue as it was when he was at Manchester City.

Benzema is a proven goalscorer and netted 17 times in La Liga last season, per WhoScored.com, and he is currently trying to secure a new contract at the Spanish giants, per AS:

Arsenal need the type of striker they have been lacking since the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Wenger appears to be looking at the right kind of players.

The Frenchman needs to spend some money in the summer to secure a player of proven quality who can score the goals that may lead them to an English title for the first time since 2004.

 

Sagna Replacement

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: Hotaru Yamaguchi of Japan tries to clear the ball past Serge Aurier of the Ivory Coast during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match  between the Ivory Coast and Japan at Arena Pernambuco on June 14, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Right-back Bacary Sagna left the Emirates after his contract expired at the end of last season, having played for the club for seven seasons. He has now joined Manchester City, per the Premier League:

It seems that Toulouse's Serge Aurier is at the top of Wenger's list to replace the Frenchman, and the 21-year-old would be a good fit in North London.

He made 34 appearances in Ligue 1 last season and scored six goals while providing the same amount of assists per WhoScored.com.

Ivorian Aurier would be a quality signing for Wenger and Arsenal and looks a more than adequate replacement for Sagna per the Daily Mirror's Darren Lewis:

The youngster hinted earlier this month that the deal for him to move to Arsenal was on, per Squawka, and reports suggest that he could be snapped up for £7 million, per Goal.com:

Arsenal need more quality in their ranks if they are to contest domestically and in Europe next season.

The Gunners eschewed the opportunity to re-sign former captain Cesc Fabregas—who moved to Chelsea—but need more quality throughout the squad.

A new striker and right-back could massively improve Arsenal and make them a genuine title contender next term.

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