For the first time in many a summer transfer window, it’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan.
Though no players have put pen to paper at the Emirates just yet, manager Arsene Wenger has made his ambitions clear by lining up two high-profile signings.
As Sky Sports reports, the Gunners are closing in on the signatures of Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez, with the latter’s potential arrival giving fans a particular reason to celebrate.
Sanchez was one of the stars of World Cup 2014 in Brazil, scoring two goals and producing the kind of performances that would make him a nightmare for Premier League defences.
Naturally, the praise came in thick and fast for the Chile international, with The Daily Mirror’s Oliver Holt among those impressed with his quality:
Hope Arsenal close the deal on Sanchez. Think he'd be a brilliant signing for them and for the Premier League— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) July 8, 2014
Not that he’s a one-tournament wonder, though, as he’s been producing the goods for Barcelona whenever called upon for years now.
As WhoScored.com’s statistics reveal, the 25-year-old scored 19 La Liga goals last season and assisted 10 more—figures that will have Arsenal fans’ mouths watering.
And here’s some more good news if you’re a Gunner—Sanchez is reportedly now flying to London to complete his deal with the club, having agreed a £32 million deal with Barcelona for his services—per Metro.
Metro report that the Barcelona man’s current £75,000-per-week deal is set to go up considerably, but it’ll surely be money well spent for a player at the peak of his powers.
Switching from the Emirates ins to the outs now, as captain Thomas Vermaelen’s future continues to come under the microscope.
The Belgium international has been the subject of mass transfer speculation of late, and with a regular place in Arsenal’s starting line-up proving elusive last term, he could be on the way out of the exit door.
The 28-year-old started just seven Premier League games in 2013/14 according to WhoScored.com, and he admitted that he didn’t know whether or not he’d be at Arsenal next season—per Simon Johnson of London Evening Standard:
“I really do not know where I will play, Arsenal or elsewhere next season. All my attention went to the World Cup. I will see when I talk with Arsenal.”
Those talks are expected to take place in the coming days following Belgium’s exit from the World Cup, but Manchester United will reportedly be on hand to snap up Vermaelen should Arsenal decide to sell him.
Johnson reveals that Louis van Gaal’s men are willing to give Vermaelen a £30,000 raise on his £70,000-per-week salary if he makes the switch to Old Trafford, with Premier League starts looking a near certainty.
Despite being a fantastic player, it appears that Vermaelen no longer has a place in Wenger’s long-term plans, and he’s not the kind of player to enjoy a life of substitute appearances—making his chances of heading to Manchester all the more likely.
Though selling an asset to a Premier League rival is hardly sensible, Arsenal legend Ray Parlour believes that the Gunners won’t stand in his way if he wants to leave, as he told talkSPORT:
Thomas Vermaelen wants to play football. Last year he couldn’t get in the Arsenal side because Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny were superb at the back. Kieran Gibbs has improved so much he couldn’t even play him at left-back. When you get to a situation where a squad member wants to move, sometimes the player has more sway than the club itself. If he wants to play football, and an offer comes in from a club like Manchester United, then it’s hard for the club to say, ‘no, you can’t go there, we want to sell you to a club in Italy or Spain’.
Some fans may welcome Vermaelen’s departure, but if he has the same impact at Manchester United, should he move there, as Robin van Persie did two seasons ago, then they could be left to eat their words.
However, the silver lining on the Vermaelen cloud is Sanchez, whose arrival could see Arsenal once again cement their place among the best sides in Europe.
A defensive midfielder and possibly some more defensive cover will likely be next on Wenger’s shopping list, and not that we’d recommend fans getting ahead of themselves, but the focus for Arsenal fans right now can be rejoicing a fantastic signing.