Arsenal Transfer News: Big-Name Signings Still on Arsene Wenger's Radar

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2014

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 24:  Sami Khedira of Real Madrid and Tiago of Club Atletico de Madrid battle for the ball uring the UEFA Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has already grabbed the headlines during this transfer window, signing Chile forward Alexis Sanchez.

However, the ex-FC Barcelona star might not be the only big-name new arrival at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

A deal reportedly remains alive to sign Real Madrid midfield powerhouse Sami Khedira. That rumour is being sustained by Khedira's preference to join Arsenal as his next club.

It's a similar story concerning AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli. This isn't so much Arsenal fluttering come hither eyes at the player but rather that his club seems intent on sending him to north London.

Mario Balotelli remains in Arsenal's range.
Mario Balotelli remains in Arsenal's range.Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

A proposed deal to sign Real Madrid veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas is a rumour that grows stronger the less it seems likely to happen.

Here's a closer look at these rumours and the latest news involving Arsenal in this transfer window, beginning with Casillas:


Terms Offered to Iker Casillas

The perennially mooted move for Iker Casillas appears to have stepped up a notch this week. Daily Express reporter Jamie Anderson cited Spanish sources claiming Arsenal have already offered a contract to Casillas:

Reports from Spanish newspaper Sport, claim Arsenal have offered the 33-year-old international a five-year deal worth £1.4m per-year.

Though the reports mention nothing of a transfer fee, it is believed Madrid would be willing to do business for around £4m.

Obviously, the contention with this rumour involves Arsenal's expected signing of Colombia international David Ospina. It is a deal Wenger appeared to confirm via That is a move designed to provide strong competition for current starting 'keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

If that is indeed the plan, it makes it hard to fathom where Casillas would fit in. His career is not so much declining as in tatters following a dreadful showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

That came after Casillas lost his spot as the regular choice in Madrid's goal to veteran Diego Lopez. Yet for all his recent woes, Casillas remains a highly accomplished stopper.

The 33-year-old possesses an almost unrivalled pedigree of success at the top levels of the game. It's been a long time since Arsenal had an experienced, trustworthy presence between the sticks.

When Wenger last went down that route, he secured eccentric Germany ace Jens Lehmann. He became a key figure for the team that won the Premier League title undefeated in the 2003/04 season.

Casillas has struggled mightily recently. However, all he needs is a renewal of confidence. When at his best, few can deny the Spaniard is a top-notch goalie.

Casillas still has a lot to offer.
Casillas still has a lot to offer.USA TODAY Sports

But there are still good reasons to be dubious about this rumour. Chief among them is the terms involved.

Put simply, they are rather lavish for Wenger to offer a player over 30. The Frenchman has notoriously been frugal with players in that age bracket, often consigning them to short-term deals.

Things are just as murky in the transfer news for Arsenal at the other end of the pitch.


Mario Balotelli Offered by AC Milan Who Want Joel Campbell

Wenger might not be making noises about wanting to sign Balotelli, but AC Milan are refusing to let the possibility drop. They are reportedly prepared to sell the ultra-temperamental striker for just €10 million. But the Rossoneri want Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell included in the deal, per Italian publication TuttoSport (h/t Metro):

According to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, AC Milan are looking to offload Balotelli this summer, as he is one of their highest earners, and hope to do business with Arsenal.

The paper says Milan have offered Balotelli to the Gunners for just £7.9million but want them to hand over Campbell as a sweetener.

There are plenty of merits to this deal. The most obvious is Wenger's ability to unleash Balotelli's undoubted potential as a world-class centre-forward.

The Italy international has the physical power, lightning pace, technique and finishing skills current Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud just doesn't possess. Of course, football talent is never the issue with Balotelli, his erratic behaviour is.

Wenger would be bringing a potentially very disruptive influence into a squad that has become close knit in recent seasons. Experienced professionals like Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta may have a hard time taking to Balotelli.

Still, this rumour simply refuses to relent. That's despite several high-profile denials. Rossoneri CEO Adriano Galliani provided the latest, denying Arsenal have ever bid, per Sky Sports reporter Simone Bargellini.

Wenger himself recently ruled out the need for a new striker, per London Evening Standard reporter Richard Parry. Perhaps Campbell's presence is one reason why Wenger feels that way.

The pacy youngster enjoyed a good World Cup and has the quickness and versatility Wenger likes his attackers to possess. However, his team hasn't been short of issues in front of goal since selling Robin van Persie in 2012.


Sami Khedira Still Wants Arsenal Move

Arsenal's proposed move for Sami Khedira hit the skids over his hefty wage demands. But that might not be the end of things.

The energetic midfield strongman reportedly still wants a move to the Premier League and favours Arsenal as his ideal destination, per German newspaper Bild (h/t

BILD says while rival interest from Chelsea has arrived, Khedira's priority is the Arsenal option.

Khedira loves the idea of joining the German contingent at Arsenal, having enjoyed his time at the World Cup alongside Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Özil.

The Gunners have an obvious need for Khedira. He offers physicality and drive in the middle, qualities that are scarce among Wenger's contingent of technically gifted playmakers.

Khedira knows how to make himself a factor at both ends of the pitch. His tireless running and tough tackling are combined with an underrated eye for goal.

The resourceful 27-year-old would be the ideal addition to Arsenal's midfield ranks. However, it all depends on those wage demands.

Khedira has asked for as much as £150,000 per week, according to James Orr of The Independent. That prompted many to believe Wenger will happily walk away from any deal:

It's perhaps those wage demands that led to the leak of Wenger's plans to deploy Jack Wilshere in a holding midfield role this season, per Daily Mail reporter Sami Mokbel.

While there's some merit to that idea, it might just be Wenger's way of letting Khedira know how far he's prepared to go to avoid paying bloated wages.

Of course, a clearer signal to Khedira is provided by mooted interest in Southampton midfield linchpin Morgan Schneiderlin, per the BBC:

Schneiderlin is combative and knows the Premier League. However, he doesn't boast the dynamic box-to-box qualities Khedira possesses, qualities perfect for Wenger's brand of fluid and attacking football.

The three proposed targets on this list represent the marquee signings many Arsenal fans still believe the Gunners need more of, even after the arrival of Sanchez.

However, there are more than a few good reasons to remain dubious about the possibility of Wenger actually making any of these deals.


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