The summer transfer window has already been a busy one for Arsenal, with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, and if the latest reports are to be believed, Arsene Wenger is just getting started. The Gunners are still looking at significantly upgrading their starting XI, with a holding midfielder appearing to be the club's priority.
Arsenal had a quality team last season but were lacking in squad depth, and it cost them towards the end of the season, losing their position at the top of the Premier League table and falling all the way to fourth place.
The talent is there, however, and with a handful of key signings, the Gunners could soon challenge the elite clubs of English football for the league title. Let's have a look at the latest transfer buzz surrounding Arsenal.
The Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson believes the midfielder would be keen to join compatriots Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker in north London, and his signing would be in line with Arsenal's recent transfer strategy, spending larger transfer sums on proven talent from the Spanish La Liga:
It is the possible addition of Khedira or Bender, however, that will most excite Arsenal fans and serve as further evidence, following the acquisitions of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil over the past year, that Wenger is again able to compete for the world’s best players.
Khedira has been one of the best midfielders at the World Cup and, although he has only got one year left on his contract at Real Madrid, the Champions League winners would still demand in excess of £20 million.
Madrid have also held talks with Khedira about a potential new contract and, while the 27-year-old would be interested in following Germany team-mates Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski to London, Arsenal would also face competition from across Europe.
Khedira spent much of the 2013-14 season recovering from injury, but he was at his very best during the 2014 World Cup, playing a vital role in Germany's superb run through the tournament.
The former VfB Stuttgart man has the size and strength to deal with the physical Premier league, but he's also skilled enough to fit Wenger's idea of the perfect midfielder.
His injury history is a concern, however, and despite only having one season left on his current deal with Real, he won't come cheaply. But his synergy with Ozil was evidenced in Brazil, and the midfielder looked as healthy as ever during the 2014 World Cup.
There are always risks involved with any signing, and, for the right price, Khedira could be the latest established and productive star at Wenger's disposal.
English media are reporting that Atletico Madrid full-back Javier Manquillo is on his way to London, but according to the Atletico directors, those reports are false. As reported by Marca, the Spanish champions only have one message for any interested parties: "Manquillo is not for sale."
Metro previously reported both clubs were "in advanced transfer talks" regarding the young defender, with the Gunners looking for a season-long loan deal if a sale is not an option.
Atleti seem bent on keeping Manquillo connected to the club, however, and it seems unlikely Wenger would be particularly interested in a loan deal that didn't involve an option to make the deal permanent. While Arsenal can always use help out wide, they are generally not in the business of training players for other clubs.
Manquillo is regarded as one of the biggest young talents in Spain, moving to the full-back position after starting his career as a wide midfielder. With plenty of pace and trickery up his sleeve, the 20-year-old is already an impressive offensive threat.
He's able to hold his own defensively but needs a lot of polishing on that end of the pitch. The potential is clearly there, but there's a reason he hardly featured for Atletico's senior side during the past season.
Arsenal's interest in the player is understandable, but without a buyout clause, a deal seems to make little sense. Atletico cashed in on Diego Costa earlier this season, so unless Arsenal are willing to overspend on the youngster, Manquillo will most likely remain with his boyhood club.
Arsenal made a £19 million offer for the German's services last summer, according to Metro, and Wenger is still a keen admirer of the 25-year-old who missed Germany's World Cup squad due to an injury.
Bender might lack Khedira's experience and impressive physique, but he is a very similar player with the ball at his feet and reads the game like few others can. Defensively he's superior to Khedira, willing to do the dirty work in front of the back four and relishing physical battles with opposing players.
The transfer fee could prove to be an issue, as Leverkusen already turned down a £19 million offer last season. The Germans value Bender above any of their other players, and Rudi Voller told Kolner Stadt Anzeiger (h/t to ESPN FC) the player still isn't for sale:
"Firstly, we have not received an offer from anyone, and secondly, Lars will stay here. It just makes no sense to buy Hakan Calhanoglu [from Hamburg] and sell Bender. We have high ambitions."
Transfer records are being broken left and right during the 2014 summer transfer window, and with other clubs willing to pay enormous transfer fees to get their guy, it would appear Arsenal will be forced to do the same if they want to strengthen their midfield unit.
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