Arsenal have been one of the busier Premier League sides in the summer transfer window this year—like you ever thought you’d read that—but it appears that business is far from over at the Emirates.
Two lacklustre performances to open the 2014/15 campaign has shaken Gunners fans’ pre-season optimism, and many are now calling for manager Arsene Wenger to continue to invest in the squad.
As deadline day fast approaches, we take a look at a potential arrival in north London, while assessing which star could be moving in the opposite direction.
Luiz Gustavo In?
Arsenal’s hunt for a defensive midfielder has been dominating headlines throughout the summer, and a new name has now been thrown into the hat.
Wenger reportedly has his sights set on Wolfburg’s Luiz Gustavo, with the Frenchman looking to close out a deal for the Brazilian before deadline day—per John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
Sami Khedira and William Carvalho had previously been linked with a switch to the Emirates, and while both are still seemingly a possibility, Gustavo looks like the best option for the club.
Despite being prone to the occasional booking and moment of recklessness, Gustavo has all the credentials of a first-rate holding player.
His pace, power, strength and expert distribution make him a hot property, and at 27 years of age, he’s very much in his prime.
Gustavo certainly proved as much during the World Cup with Brazil, and Neymar aside, the Wolfsburg man was arguably the host nation’s shining star.
It’s no surprise to see Wenger sniffing around for his signature, then, and Cross writes that the Gunners sent scouts to Wolfsburg’s Bundesliga opener against Bayern Munich to assess the midfielder’s progress.
Whether or not Gustavo impressed the Arsenal staff enough to warrant a move remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the Gunners need to add to their personnel in the middle of the park.
While Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are excellent footballers, the Gunners simply won’t challenge for the title without a world-class anchor at their disposal—a bill that Gustavo certainly fits.
Adding to all of that is the fact that Arteta picked up an injury in Arsenal’s Champions League play-off first leg with Besiktas last week, and Wenger admitted that if he’s out for a long time then he may need to invest—per talkSPORT:
If it is a long-term injury, that puts us in a position where we have to be creative. We are like you, we listen to the names, but sometimes I look who we buy in the media, but at the moment as I told you we are not in an emergency case. We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number.
Strengthening any defence is the name of Gustavo’s game, and Arsenal would be smart to move for him before the window is up. However, bringing the Brazilian in could result in a big-name Gunner heading for the Emirates exit door.
Lukas Podolski Out?
As part of the deal to lure Gustavo to the Emirates, Arsenal are likely to send German World Cup winner Lukas Podolski in the opposite direction to the Volkswagen Arena—per Cross.
Wolfsburg have reportedly been keen on Podolski for some time, but with the 29-year-old seemingly out of Wenger’s plans for 2014/15, the opportunity is there for the Frenchman to negotiate a player-plus-cash deal—something that talkSPORT’s James Dodd thinks would be a good idea:
If Wolfsburg are in for Podolski then it would make complete sense for us to use him as bait to get Luis Gustavo.— James Dodd (@JamesDoddTS) August 25, 2014
However, if the Bundesliga outfit refuse to let Gustavo go, they’ll still be in for Podolski, and are reportedly preparing an offer for the forward.
As French newspaper L’Equipe revealed, via Joe Short of the Daily Express, Wolfsburg are willing to offer the 29-year-old a three-year contract to return to the German top flight, with his transfer fee said to be around £9.5 million.
Letting Podolski go for close to £10 million would hardly be the worst bit of business that Wenger has ever done, but using him to bring a new star in would be a managerial masterstroke.
With a player like Gustavo in the Arsenal side, the Gunners would finally have their bite back that’s eluded them for a few seasons, and with it would come their tag as title candidates.