Arsenal's need to replace injured striker Olivier Giroud has sections of the press believing manager Arsene Wenger is about to do something drastic.
That drastic action will apparently involve spending almost his entire current outlay during this transfer window to sign Paris-Saint Germain's Edinson Cavani.
While Cavani would certainly finally give the Gunners the quality front man they've been missing for too long, it's difficult to see Wenger making this move. A potential bid for a player closer to home seems more credible.
Queens Park Rangers' pacy forward Loic Remy fits that bill. However, his club is reportedly yet to receive word from Wenger.
That's surprising when considering Giroud could miss up to three months with a broken ankle, per Daily Mail reporter Sami Mokbel. That's still not been officially confirmed, but don't expect the links to strikers to disappear.
Here's the latest on Arsenal's search for a new striker:
Wenger Ready to Pay £50 Million for Cavani
The idea of Wenger paying big sums for individual players is no longer as far-fetched as it once seemed. However, the notion that he'd do it twice in one window may be stretching reality to its breaking point.
Nevertheless, Daily Express writer Antony Chapman cites unnamed reports in France claiming Wenger will bid £50 million to tempt PSG into selling Cavani:
Cavani, who had been tipped earlier in the transfer window to join Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United, is rumoured to be unhappy at the Ligue 1 side with Zlatan Ibrahimovic taking centre-stage, and although the Uruguay international is prepared to give his PSG career one more season, an offer from Arsenal could be too good to turn down.
Laurent Blanc's team have been linked with a shock move for Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema, and could be tempted to sell the former Napoli man in order to raid Real Madrid before Monday's deadline.
Let's begin by making it clear that Cavani would certainly be a welcome addition at Arsenal. Like Giroud, he is tall and powerful and would ensure a lightweight squad retains a physical presence up front.
Better still, Cavani is quicker and more technically assured than Giroud. The Uruguay international has surprisingly light feet for a target man, enabling him to outwit defenders on the deck as well as outmuscle them in the air.
All of that is fine on the surface, but none of it provides a genuine indication of an imminent Arsenal bid. After all, Wenger has already spent close to £35 million on Alexis Sanchez. In fact, the previously spendthrift Gunners chief has actually shelled out £56 million during this window.
The rumour itself is also tricky. For one thing, why would Real Madrid sell Benzema, their only natural striker? Perhaps the answer is provided in French publication Le 10 Sport (h/t English edition of AS):
This just in.... Le 10 Sport report that Real Madrid are sniffing around Radamel Falcao again. More to follow.— AS English (@English_AS) August 26, 2014
If Los Blancos do want Falcao, they could fund the deal by sending Benzema to the French capital. Given PSG's problems with Financial Fair Play rules, Blanc's club would certainly need to sell before acquiring Benzema.
Cavani is definitely Blanc's best bargaining chip. However, prominent sources in France don't seem to be able to decide if Cavani is staying or going this summer.
The unnamed reports in the Express could well be from L'Equipe, referenced here:
Arsenal want one of Welbeck, Remy, Falcao or Edinson Cavani to replace Olivier Giroud (lequipe)— Arsene-All (@arsenalbarclays) August 26, 2014
However, this report represents something of a U-turn from L'Equipe. Previously, France-based journalist Matt Spiro referenced the publication claiming Cavani is set to stay in Paris:
Cavani staying at least one more year. PSG have just 2 strikers (including an injured Ibra) and are refusing to listen to offers (L'Equipe)— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) August 22, 2014
Keeping up so far? No, me neither. About the only thing that is clear here is that Wenger has registered an interest in the past.
Back in November 2012, Arsenal were credited with a £30 million bid for the striker, per Daily Mail reporter Bob Cass. However, even if he's fond of the player, it's difficult to imagine Wenger pushing Arsenal's spending in one transfer window past the £100 million mark, no matter how great the need.
No Offer Yet for Remy
If Wenger is supposedly dipping his toe in the water over a possible Cavani bid, he has apparently not even undone his shoe laces when it comes to Remy.
The 27-year-old Frenchman has been a long, long-linked target. But as of now, there's been no official enquiry from Arsenal.
That's according to QPR boss Harry Redknapp, and surely he'd know, per talkSPORT:
No, we haven’t heard anything.
It’s difficult because Remy has a buyout clause and one thing you don’t want is suddenly getting a call over the weekend with the end of the window approaching.
All we can do is just hope the phone doesn’t ring and that we get past Monday and Remy is still with us.
Of course, Redknapp could be being coy here. This is, after all, a transfer window. However, it seems unlikely Redknapp would deny himself the chance to go in front of a Sky Sports News camera to say something big this week.
What you can count on is repeated hints of Arsenal's interest in Remy. Wenger is a known admirer of the fleet-footed forward.
Should Wenger finally sign Remy?
It's understandable, considering Remy possesses the kind of defence-stretching pace Wenger used to value above all else in attack. But that was back in the days when Nicolas Anelka and then Thierry Henry led the line.
If Wenger signed Remy, it would require a key variation in how his current squad builds attacks. Specifically, passes would have to be released up to the front much quicker than the more elaborate approach that suits the largely static Giroud.
While a deal for Remy seemingly can never be ruled out, the possibility is certainly not as strong as it once was. Wenger has had a long time to make up him mind about this player. At least one thing has always made him hesitate.
Ex-Gunner Endorses Danny Welbeck
Manchester United's perennially misfiring forward Danny Welbeck is the third striker currently linked to the Gunners. Former Arsenal goal-getter Alan Smith has endorsed Wenger signing the 23-year-old, per SkySports.com:
I think he would make an excellent signing for somebody, he’s had unfair criticism over the last couple of years really, he’s been playing out of position at United and shunted around the park.
Yes, his finishing hasn’t been up to scratch at times but that comes from not playing in your regular position regularly. I think if he was given an extended spell through the middle where he likes it you would see a really top player develop.
Danny Welbeck’s got most attributes. Olivier Giroud is a very good target man and is a very good header of the ball, and he’ll get you 20+ goals, so that’s not to be sniffed at, but Danny is different. He’s very good technically as he’s shown with England and he is a bit quicker.
It's tough to disagree with Smith. The man helped fired Arsenal to two league titles in the old First Division. He also netted a superb strike to win the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners Cup against a very accomplished Parma team.
However, it's tougher still to believe Welbeck is right for Arsenal, no matter how much Smith knows his stuff. The United flop scored only nine goals in the Premier League last season, after netting just once in 2012, per ESPN FC.
Yes, there's clearly some potential there. But Wenger could easily say the same about current Gunners youngsters Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell, albeit from a smaller sample size than Welbeck's career.
Would Welbeck revive his career with Arsenal?
Arsenal don't need potential to replace Giroud, a player whose own progress many fans aren't patient enough to wait for. Wenger needs a forward who can make an immediate impact for a squad with title aspirations.
Sadly, finding such a striker won't be easy at this stage of the window. It will certainly require paying a fee Wenger is likely to find unsettling.