Arsenal will kick off their 2014-15 campaign on Saturday in what will be the first taste of Premier League action for some of the club's latest acquisitions.
Crystal Palace are the first test on the schedule, and their meeting will indicate further exactly where this Gunners squad currently is in terms of strength, with just a fortnight of the transfer window remaining.
Specifically, Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani is one of those most fervently linked with the north Londoners, but a new, potential club transfer record isn't the only rumour hitting headlines of late.
According to The Independent's Tom Sheen, Arsenal would need to spend £51 million in order to land Cavani this summer.
Sheen cites French newspaper L'Equipe in stating that PSG aren't willing to do business for the Uruguayan, however, and manager Laurent Blanc was quoted by Sky Sports, voicing his happiness with the player earlier this month:
Our talk will remain between Edinson and I. Don’t try to know what we talked about. He told you [the media] again he feels happy at Paris and it was not all linked with his position on the pitch and that is an answer I like because in football you have to think collectively.
But it was no surprise from Edinson. Indeed he has a favourite position, but as does any other player. I am only focused on the team being efficient, notably with Edinson and that is clearly possible as we showed last season. He is a player with so many qualities that he can not only play centre-forward. He showed it during last WC again.
There had been concerns that Cavani was unhappy playing second fiddle to lead striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but another wing beckons out wide for the former Napoli sensation, it seems.
ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson has iterated his belief that Cavani will remain at Parc des Princes for the coming season:
@Khaireh1993 Honestly, no. I just don't see PSG making the space by selling Lavezzi & I don't think PSG will even consider selling Cavani.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 14, 2014
It's difficult to envision Arsenal forking out a £51 million fee in the most convenient of circumstances, but having already paid more than £60 million in transfer fees this summer, it just doesn't seem likely that amount will be blown.
Not to mention Olivier Giroud's place as the first-choice frontman could be thrown into disarray as a result, it's not speculation Arsenal fans need get too invested in.
However, even Atleti figures are denying the deal, with chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin proclaiming, per Spanish television channel TVE (h/t Goal.com's Joe Wright):
"Reus has never been on Atletico's agenda and his profile does not fit with what the team currently need."
One might argue with that statement, but the flat-out denial from such a high-ranking figure as Gil Marin would certainly serve as firm evidence to dissuade rumours. German writer Cristian Nyari is inclined to believe at Atletico figure's claim:
Marco Reus to Atletico Madrid. No way that's happening.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) August 15, 2014
Despite their recent La Liga success, it's difficult to imagine the Madrid giants competing with their European peers on a financial scale as of yet, and a move of such magnitude may still be out of their reach.
That's not to say the club hasn't spent big on players in the past, but the move strikes as an odd one at this time.
Lastly, Sheen reports that Sami Khedira may yet leave the Bernabeu this summer, with the Spanish giants eager to cash in rather than lose their midfielder for free when his contract expires next summer.
Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail last week quoted Real boss Carlo Ancelotti in his desire to retain Khedira's services this season: "He’s not leaving, he’s a Real Madrid player. He has a contract until June 30, 2015 and that’s all there is to say."
Speculation has intensified since Khedira was left out of the squad to face Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup last weekend, leading some to believe Arsenal may yet get their man.
With a decreased price tag, Khedira's wages may become that much more acceptable for the Gunners' money men to sanction a move, should news of Real's lowered valuation be true.