The 2014/15 English football season has barely got going, but, even so, Arsenal are already looking a formidable force.
Intelligent spending in the transfer window combined with strong performances in the Community Shield and their opening Premier League clash means that optimism at the Emirates is at an understandable high.
However, for the Gunners to be considered serious title contenders this year, they need to invest in one or two more players; and here, we take a look at the candidates to complete Arsene Wenger’s world-class puzzle.
Despite landing both Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers earlier in the summer, a defensive addition at the Emirates looks a necessity with just a few weeks of the transfer window remaining.
Former captain Thomas Vermaelen’s departure for Barcelona adds to that equation, and it seems that Wenger is turning his attention to Greece to find his replacement.
Though some Arsenal fans won’t know a great deal about the 23-year-old, anyone that watched and praised Greece’s stubborn defensive line in the World Cup was paying Manolas a great compliment.
The youngster’s strength, awareness and talent on the ball make him the full package in terms of a defender, and it seems he’ll be somewhat of a bargain buy if Arsenal land him.
Olympiakos’ sporting adviser Christian Karembeu has confirmed Premier League interest in Manolas, and said that he’s available for as little as £8 million—per Jamie Sanderson of Metro:
“In the last few days, interesting proposals have arrived from England. We are not willing to negotiate his sale for less than £8million. If we receive the right offer, we are willing to sell him.”
Clearly such a generous asking price has got Wenger and Co. interested in securing a deal for the Greek, as Goal.com’s Wayne Veysey revealed that the Gunners want to wrap up the transfer as quickly as possible:
Arsenal working hard on deal for Kostas Manolas. Could look to wrap it up quickly.— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) August 12, 2014
While Chambers performed well in his league debut for the club against Crystal Palace, the ease in which he steps into defensive midfield means that signing another centre-back is logical.
Looking at the price tag and the class of Manolas, the deal makes even more sense, and for Arsenal’s sake, let’s hope Wenger dips into his pocket once again very soon.
Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani has been linked with a whole host of clubs around Europe this summer, but Arsenal’s interest has really been grabbing headlines of late.
The Uruguayan has been forced into a life of playing on the wing for PSG, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic remaining the club’s main man up front, leading to reports of his apparent unhappiness in France.
With that in mind, rumours of the Gunners making a £51 million bid for the star surfaced—per Tom Sheen of The Independent—and will have got fans’ pulses racing despite how unlikely such a story is.
However, they now have even more cause for optimism (and possible delusion).
The Ligue 1 champions are desperate to bring in Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria before the window closes, but to do that, they need to offload a similarly high-profile, expensive player.
It means that Arsenal are one step closer to getting their man, and it seems that he really is needed at the Emirates.
Yaya Sanogo and Olivier Giroud proved in the Gunners’ narrow 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday that Arsenal will struggle without a new, exciting out-and-out striker in their ranks, as their contributions simply weren’t up to scratch.
Cavani appears the perfect fit, but with a price tag so hefty and equally outrageous wage demands to contend with, it’s hard to see the 27-year-old in red anytime soon.
It all depends on the Di Maria saga, of course, but even that’s far from concrete—meaning that Wenger is better off shopping around than making such an astounding purchase.