For the first time in many a transfer window, the Emirates has been a hub of activity this summer, with Arsene Wenger looking to bolster his squad with some big-name signings.
With the services of Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy secured, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Wenger would have his feet up looking back on a good summer’s work by now.
Not a second of it, though, as the Frenchman is keen to add a few more touches of class to his squad in the coming months, starting from the back.
Though goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny enjoyed a solid campaign last term, it seems that his No. 1 shirt could be under threat with two top-quality stoppers linked to the club.
One of them is Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, who is reportedly pushing for a move away from the Spanish capital after losing his place in Los Blancos’ starting line-up, according to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial (via David Kent of MailOnline).
Kent notes that Casillas, who made just two La Liga appearances last season, according to WhoScored.com, has requested that his contract be terminated at the Bernabeu so that he can head to the Emirates.
With Real close to signing Keylor Navas, per Anthony Hay of MailOnline, and Diego Lopez on top form, it seems that Casillas no longer has a part to play for his boyhood club and could be on the move.
Should Arsenal grant Iker Casillas' wish and bring him to the Emirates?
It would be strange to see the 33-year-old in any other shirt than a Real Madrid one, but he can undoubtedly still cut it at the highest level.
Last season’s Champions League tells us that, and were it not for a disastrous World Cup with Spain, Arsenal fans would be a lot more excited at the prospect of landing Casillas.
At 25 years old, Ospina has a lot of time left in him before hanging up the gloves, and he demonstrated at the World Cup with Colombia that he’s more than capable of being one of the best goalkeepers around until that time.
Journalist Matt Spiro is one of many who believe in Ospina’s ability, while the Daily Mirror’s Ed Malyon thinks he’s somewhat of a bargain:
Ospina had difficult season at Nice (injury & dip in form) but potentially top class. Would provide real competition for no1 jersey at #AFC— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) July 18, 2014
Arsenal quoted £10m for David Marshall and more than that for Alex McCarthy but can likely pick up World Cup star Ospina for £3m. Premium.— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) July 14, 2014
Metro reveals that Valencia are looking to take advantage of the fact that Arsenal haven’t sealed a deal for Ospina just yet, which means that Wenger must act quickly if he’s to get his man.
An exciting talent, the Colombian would be a serious contender for the No. 1 shirt at the Emirates or be a first-rate backup to Szczesny.
Either Casillas or Ospina would undoubtedly shore up the Gunners back line should they move to North London, as would defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
With the proposed move for Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira looking like it may have fallen through, according to Express' Simon Yeend, Wenger has reportedly made the Southampton man his No. 1 target this summer and has entered talks to sign him, as Wayne Veysey of Goal.com reports.
Veysey writes that Wenger wants Schneiderlin to come in and take up the holding role in Arsenal’s midfield, and the 24-year-old recently added fuel to the transfer fire by saying he was keen to try new challenges in football, per Veysey:
“I've been there (Southampton) for a long time now. We'll see how things go, but the directors know my position and what my intentions are. Everyone has ambitions, everyone has his own future in his hands, so we’ll see. Every player wants to play on big occasions.”
Schneiderlin signed for the Saints back in 2008, playing a big part in their return to the Premier League. However, with fellow stars Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana moving on, the time may well have come for the talented Frenchman to follow suit.
As Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini come to the winter of their careers, it looks like Schneiderlin could be a long-term replacement for both of them at the Emirates—and he’s a very capable candidate for such a role.
As with every summer in North London, the optimism among Arsenal fans is at a dizzying high. However, this time around, there’s more reason than ever for them to feel confident ahead of the upcoming season.
With Sanchez, Debuchy and some potentially big stars on the way, it’s an exciting time to be a Gunner.