Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Targets Set to Complete Arsene Wenger's Spree

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 12:  Adrien Rabiot of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Bayer Leverkusen at Parc des Princes on March 12, 2014 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It's an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan—big-name stars coming in, silverware once again in the trophy cabinet and realistic ambitions for the top of the world game on their agenda.

Though the Gunners tiptoed past Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener at the weekend, the talent at Arsene Wenger's disposal was something to be admired.

Even so, the Frenchman is still keen to add the last remaining pieces of the puzzle to his setup, with two defensive stars firmly in his sights.


Kostas Manolas

ATHENS,GREECE - JANUARY 12:  Kostas Manolas of Olympiacos during the Greek Superleague match between Atromitos Athinon and Olympiacos at the Peristeri Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Athens,Greece.  (Photo by Aris Messins/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Greek defender Kostas Manolas is edging closer to a switch to the Emirates, with reports suggesting that an €11 million fee has been agreed upon between Arsenal and Olympiakos—per sports journalist Sergi Dominguez:

A rock-solid centre-back with power, strength and composure in abundance, Manolas is the ideal replacement for former club captain Thomas Vermaelen at the back, and it appears his move could be going through sooner rather than later.

As James Orr of The Independent revealed, the 23-year-old has undergone a medical at the Emirates, and his fate could be sealed in the coming days.

According to's Wayne Veysey, it was always the Gunners' ambition to wrap the deal up quickly, and it seems they've handled business very efficiently:

While Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers' class could keep Manolas out of Arsenal's starting line-up, having the Greek international as a rotational player could prove crucial.

Squad depth is exactly what wins silverware and titles, and while Manolas isn't likely to break up the formidable partnership of Koscielny and Mertesacker, his contributions could be key this season.

TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Giampaolo Pazzini #11 of AC Milan chases the ball against Kostas Manolas #24 of Olympiacos FC during International Champions Cup 2014 action at BMO Field July 24, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

However, Daniel Anwar of Squawka believes that the 23-year-old's ability on the ball isn't quite good enough for him to be an effective addition for the Gunners:

It's clear that Manolas can defend, but there are question marks over whether he is good enough on the ball to fit into Arsenal's possession-based style. Manolas plays for sides that primarily look to contain the opposition at club and international level, and he would be much more heavily involved in the build-up at Arsenal.

That being said, Arsenal have more than enough players to dictate play in the heart of the pitch, and you usually find Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere dropping back into the defensive zones just to get on the ball.

ATHENS,GREECE - JANUARY 18:  Kostas Manolas of Olympiacos dribbles past Pedro Sass Petrazzi of Levadiakos with the ball during the Greek Superleague match between Olympiacos and  Levadiakos at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on January 18, 2014 in Athens
EuroFootball/Getty Images

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 12:  Adrien Rabiot of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Bayer Leverkusen at Parc des Princes on March 12, 2014 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropou
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The fact remains that Manolas is an outstanding defender, and at just 23 years of age, there's still plenty of room to grow.

If Wenger can turn the Greek into a ball-playing centre-back who keeps his knack of never losing a personal dual, he'll have got himself a defender with the whole package.


Adrien Rabiot

Arsenal's mission to land a defensive midfielder over the summer has been dragging on for some time now, but it looks as if they may well have found their man now.

Adrien Rabiot, the 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, is the latest name on Wenger's wish list, and he could well be the answer to his prayers.

As Samuel Stevens of The Independent reported, PSG have given the Gunners permission to hold talks with Rabiot, who has reportedly been tracked by Wenger for two years now.

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 12:  Adrien Rabiot of Paris Saint-Germain (C) battles with Omer Toprak (L) and Philipp Wollscheid of Bayer Leverkusen (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Bayer Leverkus
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With a coming-of-age campaign in Ligue 1 last term, the time appears right for Wenger to finally swoop for the star's signature, and that's exactly what he's doing.

Not without reason, either, as Rabiot's tough-tackling style was something to be admired in the French top flight last season, as OptaJean revealed:

Where exactly the youngster will fit in at the Emirates is what's been questioned lately, but Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports, per Stevens, that Wilshere's form could open up a place in the side.

"Jack Wilshere's problem is Jack Wilshere," Redknapp said. "He's not performing. He's got to take games by the scruff of the neck like two years ago—there's no excuses anymore."

Michel Euler/Associated Press

There's no doubt that Rabiot would leap at the chance to prove himself at the highest level, but it's his potential for the future that will have Arsenal fans' mouths watering more than anything else.

When you look at Arsenal's squad, it's difficult to see exactly where improvements are essential, and while Manolas and Rabiot aren't likely to come in as starters, their addition will give the Gunners that all-important depth.