Arsenal fans aren’t exactly accustomed to the Emirates being the hub of transfer activity that it’s been this summer, but it’s something they’d certainly like to get used to.
For too long, manager Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to put his hand in his pocket left the Gunners without a realistic chance of Premier League dominance, but it looks like the wind of change is now blowing in north London.
With four high-profile signings secured and several others in the pipeline, it’s an exciting time to be a Gunner. However, one man that won’t be donning the famous red shirt next term is Sami Khedira, who has been a figure of mass transfer speculation of late.
The Real Madrid star has been linked with several of Europe’s elite clubs over the last few months, but it was Arsenal that appeared to be winning the race for his signature—reportedly agreeing a fee with the Spanish giants for Khedira’s services, per Sky Sports.
However, the curtain has now come down on the saga, as Wenger himself confirmed that Arsenal were never close to landing the World Cup winner due to having enough world-class assets in their midfield—per talkSPORT:
I don't know who has put Khedira on the market—is it his agent or the press? We were never close to signing him. Jack Wilshere is back fit and in midfield we have offensive midfielders and quite a few box-to-box players.
While such news will undoubtedly leave Gunners fans feeling frustrated, transfer business for Wenger may not be over just yet—as The Sun revealed:
Khedira is now off of the Frenchman’s radar, but the fact remains that the Gunners need to shop around to find an ideal holding player for their setup.
As Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini enter into the winter of their careers, an injection of youth and excitement is needed in defensive midfield, and Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho may be the answer.
As Simon Jones of the Daily Mail reports, the 22-year-old tough-tackler is on Wenger’s wish list, but luring him to the Emirates would mean parting with a staggering transfer fee—reportedly around £37 million.
It could indeed prove to be money well spent, but with Arsenal’s finances taking a serious yet necessary dent over the past few months, Wenger may be forced to look elsewhere unless he can drive Sporting’s asking price down.
Lewis writes that Agger has reportedly begged manager Brendan Rodgers to let him leave Anfield, and with Arsenal skipper Thomas Vermaelen set for the exit door, per Sky Sports, the Dane could well be an ideal replacement.
That’s something that Wenger has considered, according to reports in Agger’s native Denmark, via Teddy Cutler of The Independent, suggesting that the Frenchman is set to make a move for the versatile defender.
Able to perform at both left-back and in central defence, Agger is a like-for-like swap for Vermaelen; however, the Gunners will face stiff competition for his signature.
Cutler writes that Danish side Brondby are also chasing the 29-year-old, and club chairman Jan Bech Andersen recently revealed that he’ll be doing everything in his power to lure Agger back to Denmark: "We will work really, really hard to secure Daniel but as he has also said, when he was here with Liverpool, the timing has to be right."
The timing does appear rather perfect right now, as Agger failed to lock down a place in Liverpool’s starting 11 last term, but he can undoubtedly still add something at the highest level.
Jonathan Wilson of Sports Illustrated also believes as much, saying that were it not for injuries, Agger would be ranked among the best of the best:
If it weren't for injuries, Agger might already be hailed as one of the greatest central defenders in Premier League history. He is a fine reader of the game, comfortable on the ball and blessed with a ferocious shot.
His lack of first-team opportunities at Liverpool is what’s driven him toward the exit door, but that problem hardly looks like being resolved if he makes the switch to the Emirates with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in sublime form.
Wenger must convince Agger that a rotational role at the Emirates is a step up from a life on an Anfield bench, but with Brondby likely to promise regular football, the Dane may well be heading home.
The story of Arsenal’s transfer window hasn’t been letting players slip through their fingers, but in the cases of Khedira and Agger, that looks like happening.
Defence and holding midfield are two positions in need of a tweak at Arsenal, and Wenger needs to act fast if he’s to complete his world-class puzzle by September 1.