Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arsene Wenger's Top 10 Targets This Summer

Jared DublinAnalyst IIJune 7, 2011

Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arsene Wenger's Top 10 Targets This Summer

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    After another trophy-less campaign, it is clear that Arsenal need to make several key acquisitions during the summer transfer window.

    Manager Arsene Wenger has gone six consecutive seasons without winning silverware. Although the "Arsenal project" has produced attractive attacking football, it has failed to deliver trophies.

    With patience running thin at the Emirates, the Frenchman must re-evaluate his current squad. The Gunners lack quality and depth upfront and in the center of defense.

    While signing a striker and centerback will be Wenger's top priorities, he must search for talented wide players as well. Nasri's contract negotiations have stalled, and there is still uncertainty surrounding the future of Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin.

    Although Wenger would prefer to keep both players, he will be looking for suitable replacements if one, or both, leave during the summer.

    Following a fourth-place finish behind United, Chelsea and City, respectively, Arsenal must bolster the current squad if they are to challenge for domestic and European titles next year.

    Here are Arsene Wenger's top 10 targets this summer.

10. Radamel Falcao

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    Name: Radamel Falcao

    Age: 25

    Club: Porto

    Nationality: Colombian

    Position: Striker

    Projected Transfer Fee: £26 million

    Style of Play:

    Porto's prolific striker had an absolutely spectacular season, leading his team to a Portuguese league title and UEFA Cup. Falcao netted an astonishing 38 goals in 42 appearances, making him one of the most clinical strikers in Europe. While the Colombian only stands at 5'10'', he is dominant in the air. Falcao's aerial prowess has been key to his remarkable goal tally.

    In addition to his heading and goal-poaching ability, the Colombian hitman also contributes to the overall team play. Falcao makes intelligent runs upfront and frequently drops deep to receive the ball. The Porto striker's work-rate underlines his hunger and determination to win back possession. Although Falcao has developed into an aerial force, the Colombian is just as lethal with the ball at his feet. Porto's leading goal-scorer is clinical inside the box and can finish with both feet.

    Team Fit:

    Falcao's natural goal-scoring ability makes him an excellent addition for the Gunners. The likes of Bendtner and Chamakh have been disappointing upfront, failing to cement a regular place in the first-team. Robin van Persie has been key for the Gunners this season, but Wenger will be looking for more attacking options. Falcao would provide an aerial threat that the Gunners have lacked since the departure of Adebayor.

    Although the Colombian's clinical finishing makes him a top summer target, Falcao is not the ideal fit for Arsenal's passing style of play. The Porto striker feeds off good service from the wings, which allows him to use his athleticism and heading ability to win the ball in the air.

    However, Arsenal prefer to keep possession and pass the ball around the box. Wenger's men are reluctant to send in crosses because there tends to be only one man in the area. The Gunners play attractive possession football, passing and moving until they find the perfect opening. Falcao will struggle to make a significant impact if Wenger continues to preach patient football.

    On the other hand, the Colombian could give the Gunners a new dimension in the attack. With Walcott flying down the right flank, the Englishman can get into good areas and deliver dangerous balls into the box. Wenger will have to alter his tactical formation in order to accommodate the Colombian striker. Van Persie will most likely drop off and play in the hole behind Falcao, giving the Gunners a dynamic striking duo. Falcao could be the type of aerial threat and goal-scorer that Arsenal need to challenge the elite for domestic and European trophies.

    Other Suitors:

    Falcao's incredible season for Porto has put many of the top clubs on high alert. The striker deserves a higher spot on this list based on merit, however, his £26 million transfer fee drops him to the bottom of Arsenal's summer transfer targets. Wenger will only spend that type of money on star potential or top-quality players with experience competing against elite club teams. Although Falcao was exceptional in the UEFA Europa League, he is still unproven against the big European clubs.

    Tottenham lacks quality upfront, and manager Harry Redknapp has shown serious interest in the striker. Although middle of the table clubs such as Aston Villa have also expressed their interest in signing Falcao, the two North London clubs are the most likely destinations for the Porto hitman.

9. Ricardo Alvarez

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    Name: Ricardo Alvarez

    Age: 23

    Club: Velez Sarsfield

    Nationality: Argentine

    Position: Winger

    Projected Transfer Fee: £6-12 million

    Style of Play:

    Although Alvarez has just recently emerged on Arsenal's radar, he has the technique and skill of a top-quality attacking player. The Argentine prefers to operate on the left wing, but he is comfortable playing through the middle or on the right as well.

    The 23-year-old attacking midfielder has an outstanding left boot. Alvarez boasts exceptional close control and a fierce long-distance strike. The Velez star is most dangerous when running at defenders, where he can use his deception and skill to create space for a shot, or combine with teammates around the box. Alvarez is a tricky midfielder with excellent touch and vision. The Argentine's technical ability makes him a threat to create and finish in the final third.

    In addition to his skill, Alvarez has good size and pace. At 6'2'', the Argentine may not have great upper-body strength for a player of his height, but he is rarely brushed off the ball. Although he does not have blistering pace, the Velez star is quick and can get in behind defenders.

    Team Fit:

    The Argentine's skill and composure on the ball makes him a good fit for the Gunners. Alvarez has the technique and distance shooting to challenge for a place on the left side of Arsenal's attack. The Velez star has great close control but subsequently loves to dribble and try to beat defenders.

    Alvarez may have the skill of a Wenger-type player, but it will take time for the Argentine to adjust to Arsenal's passing style. The midfielder has the flair to excel at the Emirates, but there will be a learning curve as he moves to English football.

    Alvarez's versatility would be a welcomed addition to Wenger's current squad. With his ability to play across the midfield or behind a central striker, the Velez star could provide quality and depth to the Arsenal attack. Wenger looks determined to sign South American players this summer, and Alvarez was the first player heavily linked with the Gunners.

    Samir Nasri's contract situation and Andrei Arshavin's unsettled future has put the manager in a difficult situation. One or both of the players could be on the move during the transfer window, which leaves Arsenal without quality and creative wide players. Alvarez would be a great solution to the Gunners' problems on the left flank. Although unproven against elite competition, the Argentine has the technique, skill and potential to flourish under Wenger's tutelage.

    Other Suitors:

    Italian giants Inter Milan, Roma and Juventus have emerged as possible destinations for Alvarez, while Benfica has also shown interest in signing the attacking midfielder.

    Although major clubs have sent scouts to watch the Argentine midfielder, Arsenal are still favorites to land the Velez star.

8. Gervinho

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    Name: Gervinho

    Age: 24

    Club: Lille

    Nationality: Ivorian

    Position: Striker

    Projected Transfer Fee: £12-15 million

    Style of Play:

    Lille's Ivorian striker has emerged as a unique versatile threat. Gervinho is comfortable playing in any position along the frontline. Although he excels playing on the wing or behind a main frontman, the Ivorian can also play as a lone striker.

    Gervinho has excellent technical ability and shows great composure on the ball. The Lille striker is most dangerous when running at opponents, using his pace to create separation and cause problems in the final third. Although the Ivorian bagged 14 goals in Ligue 1 this season, he can create opportunities for others as well. Gervinho's skill and quickness makes him a danger in and around the box. The Ivorian has good movement and combines well with teammates.

    Team Fit:

    Gervinho would be a good addition to the current Arsenal squad, giving the team an extra dimension in the attack. Although the Ivorian prefers to play on the right wing, Walcott has cemented that position in the first team. Therefore, Gervinho will most likely feature off the bench or as a second striker in behind van Persie. If either Nasri or Arshavin stay, the Ivorian would struggle to find regular first-team football in a wide position.

    Lille's talented striker would be an excellent fit for the Arsenal style of play. Gervinho has declared his admiration for the Gunners attractive passing and possession football. Not only does the player want to join Arsenal, but his technical abilities are well-suited for club's attacking style.

    Gervinho has shown the ability to play clever one-two's, which makes for a seamless transition to Arsenal's fluid passing system. The Lille striker would link up well with Arsenal's van Persie, using his movement and pace to attract defenders and open up space for the skillful Dutchman. While the Ivorian is not an Henry-type clinical finisher in front of goal, he knows how to find the net.

    Other Suitors:

    Gervinho has attracted interest from some of the top clubs in England. Tottenham and Liverpool are serious contenders to land the Ivorian striker, while Newcastle has also emerged as a potential destination.

    With his contract due to expire in 2012, Lille will be looking to sell the talented striker this summer for maximum value.

7. Jan Vertonghen

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    Name: Jan Vertonghen

    Age: 24

    Club: Ajax

    Nationality: Belgian

    Position: Centre-back

    Projected Transfer Fee: £12-15 million

    Style of Play:

    The Ajax star has emerged as one of the brightest defensive talents in Europe. Vertonghen is a centerback, but he can also play as a left back or defensive midfielder. The Belgian boasts outstanding technical skill for a defender. The Ajax vice-captain shows good composure on the ball and is comfortable playing out of the back.

    Vertonghen's experience in midfield has given him good vision and passing skills, which allow him to relieve pressure in the midfield and keep possession.

    Although the Belgian's skill on the ball separates him from the majority of centerbacks, Vertonghen is a commanding presence in the air and strong tackler as well. The Ajax defender has a rare combination of defensive and technical qualities, making him one of the most sought-after players this summer.

    In addition to his physical attributes and all-around play, Vertonghen has developed into a strong leader at the back. Similar to Arsenal's Vermaelen, the Ajax star is a defensive leader and enforcer with polished tackling technique and heading ability.

    Team Fit:

    Vertonghen's history with Vermaelen makes the Ajax vice-captain a great fit for the Gunners. The two Belgians formed a solid partnership at Ajax before the latter left for the North London club. In addition to their experience playing club football together, the two defenders have featured as a central defensive pair for Belgium as well.

    Although both players are left-footed, they have been able to work together in the heart of defense. While the two players are similar in terms of tenacity and aerial ability, Vertonghen is significantly more comfortable when in possession and skilled with the ball at his feet.

    During their time together at Ajax, he was a facilitator from the backline, distributing the ball and picking out midfielders. Vertonghen's technical skills would be a perfect fit for the Arsenal passing and possession style of play. Vermaelen is the more physical of the two defenders, however their similarities and differences would make for a dynamic central defensive partnership for Arsenal.

    The Ajax vice-captain's versatility is also a major aspect of his integration with the team. Vertonghen's comfort playing as a left back and defensive midfielder gives Wenger more depth and competition for places. Although he has excelled as a centerback, the Belgian can provide adequate cover for more than one position. Vertonghen's versatility would be key to an Arsenal side that lacks quality replacements at the back.

    Other Suitors:

    Vertonghen's impresive season with Ajax has made him a top target for big-spending Manchester City. The FA Cup champions have been monitoring the Belgian's development and are looking to play the centerback alongside compatriot Vincent Kompany.

    Although City's spending power makes them the favorite to land Vertonghen, the club has also shown serious interest in signing Bolton's Gary Cahill. The Belgian looks set to leave the Amsterdam club, but it is still unclear whether he will be wearing an Arsenal or City shirt next season.

6. Bojan Krkic

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    Name: Bojan Krkic

    Age: 20

    Club: Barcelona

    Nationality: Spanish

    Position: Striker

    Projected Transfer Fee: £16-18 million

    Style of Play:

    Although Bojan has struggled to get regular first-team football this season at the Camp Nou, he is still widely regarded as one of the top young talents in the world. The Barca starlet's speed and quickness have been key to his success in recent years.

    Bojan's change of pace allows him to create separation from opponents and get in behind the defense. The youngster times his runs well and makes intelligent diagonals along the backline. Bojan's quickness in tight spaces makes him a serious threat in the final third.

    In addition to his pace, the Barca starlet has great technical ability as well. The striker has good touch on the ball and plays excellent one- and two-touch football. Although Bojan is comfortable passing and keeping possession, he has emerged as a dangerman in the box.

    While the young striker is not a world-class finisher yet, he has an excellent feel for the goal and a true scoring touch. Bojan can be clinical in front of net, but he needs to show more consistency upfront. The Barca starlet has the skill and potential to become an elite striker for club and country.

    Team Fit:

    Bojan's development in the Barcelona system makes him a perfect fit for Wenger's Arsenal squad. The Barca striker plays the type of passing and possession-based football that the Frenchman preaches at the North London club.

    Although Bojan has the technical skills to excel in the current Arsenal system, his lack of size and strength would be areas of concern. The Barca striker is not suited for the EPL's tough and physical style of play. While it will take time for Bojan to adjust to the English game, his pace and technical ability will allow him to flourish for the Gunners.

    The young Barca striker would be a great addition to an Arsenal side that lacks attacking quality. Wenger would most likely deploy Bojan on the left wing, giving the youngster time and space on the ball. The striker's pace would be a great balance to Walcott's blistering speed on the right flank.

    Although Bojan could play in the hole behind van Persie, he would be more dangerous cutting in and running at defenders from the left. With the imminent departure of Nicklas Bendtner, the Barca youngster would give Wenger another goal-scoring option upfront. A formidable attacking trio of Bojan, van Persie and Walcott could be the spark to end Arsenal's current trophy drought.

    Other Suitors:

    Liverpool has emerged as a possible destination for the young striker. The new owners have shown a willingness to spend on attacking talent, and with Bojan struggling for first-team football at Barca, the Reds could try to snatch the explosive striker.

    The Barca youngster may cost the Gunners up to £18 million. However, the small striker has tremendous upside and the potential to become an elite player at his position.

5. Phil Jones

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    Name: Phil Jones

    Age: 19

    Club: Blackburn

    Nationality: English

    Position: Centerback

    Projected Transfer Fee: £15-18 million

    Style of Play:

    The Blackburn starlet had a stellar season at Ewood Park and has emerged as one of the best young English talents of this generation. Jones' exceptional form has earned him a call-up to the England U-21 side for the European Championships this summer.

    Although the Englishman looks destined to be a centerback, he is equally adept playing as a defensive midfielder. Jones plays with great tenacity and determination. The Englishman is strong in the challenge, using his physicality to win possession and break up opposition play. Blackburn's youngster boasts a relentless work rate, which has been key towards his development as a tough-tackling, no-nonsense defender.

    Standing at 6'2'', the Englishman is a formidable presence at the back. Jones has excellent aerial ability as well, making him a set-piece threat. In addition to his strong physical attributes, the Blackburn starlet has good technique and composure on the ball.

    With his experience playing as a holding midfielder, Jones has a good range of passing and decent vision. The Englishman has the potential to be an elite defender in England's top-flight for years to come. Jones has the physicality of a powerful centerback but has Rio Ferdinand-esque passing and technique. With his toughness and ability on the ball, the Englishman could develop into a dynamic force in the center of defense.

    Team Fit:

    Although Wenger has publicly stated his intentions to sign experienced defenders, Jones has too much talent and potential to ignore. The Blackburn youngster is still in the early stages of his development, but he has shown glimpses of a future world-class centre-back. The starlet would most likely feature as a squad player in his first season with the Gunners.

    Wenger likes to groom his youngsters and teach them how to play his style of football. Therefore, Jones would most likely fall behind Koscielny and Djourou in the pecking order at centre-back. The youngster's versatility would be important for Arsenal, as he would also provide cover for Alexandre Song at the defensive midfield position. First-team action would be scarce for Jones in his first year under Wenger, but his future is bright with the Gunners.

    While the English youngster will have to wait for his chance to break into the starting 11, he could become the key figure in Arsenal's defense over the next few years. Jones' passing ability and composure on the ball makes him a great partner for Thomas Vermaelen.

    The Belgian is a strong, commanding defender and does not have the technique of a ball-playing centerback. The Englishman would not only provide great balance to the Arsenal backline, but his ability on the ball makes him a perfect fit for Wenger's passing system.

    The Gunners' fluid attacking football would benefit from a central defender that is comfortable picking out passes and spreading the play. Although Jones is still young, he has the potential to be an top-quality defender for the Gunners.

    Other Suitors:

    Jones' impressive season with Blackburn has put him at the top of club's summer transfer list. Liverpool, Manchester United and City have all shown interest in signing the young Arsenal target.

    Although the Gunners have a good chance of landing the Blackburn starlet, Jones has stated his desire to join Liverpool. The Reds have plenty of English talent, and the young defender would slot in as the natural successor to Jamie Carragher at the heart of Liverpool's defense.

    Nonetheless, Jones' future is still undecided and all the aforementioned clubs are still possible destinations for the young Englishman.

4. Gary Cahill

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    Name: Gary Cahill

    Age: 25

    Club: Bolton

    Nationality: English

    Position: Centre-back

    Projected Transfer Fee: £15-20 million

    Style of Play:

    Bolton's defensive leader is one of the most highly-touted centre-backs in the EPL rumored to be on the move. The England international has been impressive for Owen Coyle's Bolton side this season, earning rave reviews and attracting interest from the elite clubs in England's top-flight.

    Cahill is a tough-tackling traditional central defender. The Englishman has great defensive instincts and does not dwell on the ball. Standing at 6'2'', Cahill is a commanding aerial presence in both penalty areas. The Bolton defender is committed and determined in the challenge, which underlines his strong and whole-hearted style of play.

    In addition to his grit and powerful defending, Cahill has good pace for a central defender. The Englishman's combination of size, strength and speed makes him one of the most dynamic centre-backs in the EPL.

    Cahill has all the physical attributes and defensive qualities to become an elite defender and regular first-team player for England. With his aerial prowess and recovery pace, the Bolton star can win headers against strong targetmen and close down smaller withdrawn strikers as well.

    Team Fit:

    Out of all the central defenders on this list, Cahill is arguably the best fit for the current Arsenal squad. With Vermaelen returning to the starting 11 next season, Wenger will be looking for the ideal complement to the Belgian defender.

    The Arsenal No. 5 is a strong and tough defender who reads the game well and dominates in the air. While the Belgian boasts exceptional defensive qualities, he lacks the pace to cope with some of the quicker wingers and strikers in the EPL.

    Cahill would provide the recovery speed that could give the Gunners a solid and dynamic centre-back partnership. The Bolton defender's size and pace would give Arsenal a backline that could rival that of United, City and Chelsea.

    In addition to Cahill being the ideal balance and complement to Vermaelen's style of play, the Bolton defender has tons of experience in England's top-flight. Wenger has stated his desire to bring in players with EPL experience, and Cahill fits the billing.

    The England international has been a consistent and reliable performer at the heart of Bolton's defense.  At 25 years old, the Bolton star is starting to enter his prime footballing years as a centre-back. The Englishman's physical attributes and EPL experience make him one of Wenger's top summer targets. Cahill could be the Tony Adams type of English leader that Arsenal have been missing in recent years.

    Other Suitors:

    Cahill's solid displays for Bolton and English nationality make him a top defensive target for the elite EPL clubs. The Bolton star has all the tools to become the rock of England's defense for years to come.

    With his impressive defensive qualities and surprising pace, Manchester City are fighting to acquire the Bolton defender. Manager Mancini wants to form a deadly partnership with Cahill and Kompany at the back, giving City two of the most dynamic and physically gifted defenders in the EPL.

    The Sky Blues have the money to outbid Arsenal, and will most likely have their choice between the Bolton defender and Ajax's Jan Vertonghen. Although Cahill would be the best fit for Arsenal, Wenger could be priced out of a move for the Englishman. If City land the Bolton star, Arsenal will most likely move to sign the Belgian defender to partner Vermaelen in the center of defense.

3. Karim Benzema

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    Name: Karim Benzema

    Age: 23

    Club: Real Madrid

    Nationality: French

    Position: Striker

    Projected Transfer Fee: £20-26 million

    Style of Play:

    Although Benzema endured a tough first season in Madrid, the Frenchman has recently shown the potential of a world-class striker. The 23-year-old came to the Spanish capital with a huge transfer fee and great expectations.

    With Higuain's extended time out of the first team due to a back injury, Benzema bagged 26 goals in all competitions as the lone striker in Mourinho 4-2-3-1 formation. The Frenchman has emerged as a solid finisher for both club and country. Benzema has excellent shooting technique with both feet and is a threat to score in and around the box.

    The Madrid striker has outstanding skill on the ball as well. Although he is prone to the occasional long first touch, Benzema has good control and composure when in possession. Playing alongside the likes of Ronaldo and Ozil, the Frenchman has excelled playing quick one and two-touch football in the final third.

    The Madrid No. 9 combines well with the midfield and is clever with his deft flicks and lay-offs. While Mourinho primarily uses Benzema as the main striker, the Frenchman likes to drift out on the left. Benzema has done well in Madrid's current system, but he prefers to play with a partner upfront.

    When paired with Adebayor as a front two, Benzema was able to play off the targetman and drop into space. The Frenchman is most dangerous when coming in off the left running at defenders. Benzema has the skill to beat defenders in a one-on-one, but he is also a threat to play a quick wall pass to get in behind. With the ball at his feet, Benzema has all the tools to create or finish a dangerous attacking move.

    Team Fit:

    Benzema's finishing and technical ability make him a perfect fit for the Arsenal system. While he does not have the blistering pace of former skipper Thierry Henry, the Madrid striker does share some similarities with the Arsenal legend. Benzema likes to drift out on the left flank and take on defenders.

    He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and has the technical ability to thrive in Wenger's passing style of play. The manager has shown an affinity for French players, making Benzema a great fit for the club.

    The Madrid striker could be the solution to Arsenal's lack of quality upfront. With Bendtner on his way out, Wenger will be looking for a top-quality striker during the summer transfer window. Benzema's arrival will most likely force a change in formation for the Gunners. Wenger would play the Frenchman with van Persie as a striking duo, trying to mirror the successful partnership of Henry and Bergkamp.

    While the new version would be slightly different than the frontline of Arsenal's Invincibles, the technical skill and movement upfront could give the Gunners that deadly attacking threat once again. Benzema and van Persie's movement in the final third would be perfect for Arsenal's fluid passing style. Although the Madrid striker might not be an Henry-type of leader, Benzema has the potential to become the club's next world-class French striker.

    Other Suitors:

    Wenger has publicly stated his desire to acquire the Madrid No. 9. Although Mourinho has recently reiterated that he wants to keep the French striker, Benzema has yet to cement his place in the starting 11. The Frenchman will be looking for regular first-team football, and it is unclear where he falls in Mourinho's pecking order upfront.

    Manchester United and Juventus have also shown interest in signing the highly touted young striker. Although the heavy French presence at Arsenal makes them the frontrunner to land Benzema, the English champions and Turin giants have been monitoring Benzema's situation in Madrid and have the money to outbid the Gunners.

2. Mamadou Sakho

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Name: Mamadou Sakho

    Age: 21

    Club: PSG

    Nationality: French

    Position: Centre-back

    Projected Transfer Fee: £12-18 million

    Style of Play:

    PSG's 21-year-old captain has emerged as one of the best young defenders in world football. Sakho's impressive displays in Ligue 1 have earned him three appearances for the France national team under Laurent Blanc.

    The French international is a natural leader at the back. Sakho's determination and toughness have been instrumental to his meteoric rise as an elite young centre-back. The Frenchman is a physical defender with an exceptional work rate. He works hard to close down opponents and wins the majority of 50-50 challenges due to his strength and tackling technique. Sakho's tenacity and tough-tackling underline his leadership qualities as a strong centre-back.

    Although the Frenchman's committed style of play makes him a good captain and defensive leader, Sakho is a dynamic force at the back. In addition to his strong challenges, the PSG captain boasts tremendous leaping ability.

    Standing at 6'2'', Sakho has the height to challenge in the air. However, his explosiveness and vertical leap make him a dominant aerial force. While the Frenchman has all the qualities of a no-nonsense central defender, Sakho has developed into more than strictly an enforcer. The PSG captain has good balance and pace for a player of his size and stature.

    Although Sakho is not necessarily quick, when he gets into stride the defender is rarely beaten for pace. The Frenchman's physical attributes and hard-working mentality have been key to his success as a central defender. However, Sakho is equally adept playing at left back and has good touch on the ball as well. The Frenchman's balance of strength and pace has made him arguably the best defender in France.

    Team Fit:

    Sakho has the potential to be a star central defender for the Gunners. Although the Frenchman is still growing and refining his defensive qualities, the player's talent and key intangibles are undeniable. Sakho's versatility would give Wenger defensive options next season. With Clichy's future is still undecided, the PSG captain could deputize at left-back alongside the left-footed Vermaelen. However, Sakho is clearly more comfortable in the center of defense, which is more likely where he will feature for the Gunners.

    Although playing with two left-footed centre-backs is not ideal, Vermaelen and Sakho would be a force in the EPL. The Frenchman has the same tough-tackling style and aerial prowess as the Arsenal defender.

    However, Vermaelen's experience and excellent timing would be key alongside the young French starlet. Sakho would provide the pace that the Belgian lacks, giving Arsenal a physical and dynamic defensive partnership.

    While Sakho's youth and inexperience could be exploited in England's top-flight, the Frenchman has proven that he can handle the pressure of big expectations and rise to the challenge. The PSG captain has the potential to become one of the elite defenders in the world. With his defensive and leadership qualities, Sakho could be the next great captain for the Gunners.

    Other Suitors:

    Sakho has been closely monitored by the top clubs in England for the past few years. His impressive displays as PSG captain have the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea interested in signing the starlet.

    Although scouts from the elite clubs have identified Sakho as an excellent prospect, Arsenal have emerged as the only real contenders to land the PSG captain. If Wenger acquires the young defender, the Gunners could have a real gem and the club's defensive cornerstone for the future.

1. Christopher Samba

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Name: Christopher Samba

    Age: 27

    Club: Blackburn

    Nationality: Congolese

    Position: Centre-back

    Projected Transfer Fee: £8-12 million

    Style of Play:

    Samba has become one of the best defenders in the EPL. The 6'4'' towering centre-back has emerged as a true leader and exceptional captain for Blackburn. Samba plays a similar style of physical defense as United's talismanic captain Nemanja Vidic.

    Although the United star is much more talented than the Blackburn captain, Samba has developed into a top-quality defender. The Congolese star boasts an imperious leap, making him arguably the biggest set-piece threat in the EPL other than Tottenham's Peter Crouch.

    Samba's aerial ability underlines his powerful style of play. The Blackburn captain is a committed, tough-tackling defender. The imposing Congolese defender shows great determination and tenacity in the challenge.

    Samba's size and strength make him one of the most feared central defenders in England. In addition to his physical attributes, the Blackburn center-back has invaluable intangibles. At times this season, the captain has seemingly willed his club to stay in England's top-flight. Samba boasts exceptional leadership qualities. The Congolese star is brave in the challenge, and a true enforcer at the back.

    Team Fit:

    Although Samba may not be the ideal partner for Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen, he is the perfect signing for the Gunners this summer. Arsene Wenger's men have produced beautiful attacking football. However, it is clear that the club lacks the experience and strength in defense to deliver domestic and European titles.

    Samba would be an excellent solution for Arsenal's defensive woes. The Blackburn captain has been sensational for his club side this season, earning rave reviews for his aerial dominance and combative defending.

    Wenger has been looking for a suitable and cost-efficient centre-back to provide solidity at the back. In addition, the manager recently stated his intention to sign tall players during the transfer window. Samba fits all the criteria, making him Arsenal's top target this summer.

    With the Blackburn captain in the Gunners backline, the club would have the strongest centre-back pairing in the EPL. Samba and Vermaelen's aerial prowess and physicality could reinvent Arsenal's defensive mentality. The club has lacked experience and continuity at the back in recent years.

    With Samba's arrival, the two centre-backs would give the Gunners a solid defensive foundation. Most importantly, they would instill a new toughness and tenacity into the first-team. In addition to the Blackburn captain's physical attributes, his leadership qualities make him the perfect fit for Arsenal's developing squad.

    Samba is in his peak football years, and he would be a huge influence in the locker room. The Blackburn star's determination and desire to succeed will give Arsenal the defensive fortitude and mental toughness that the club needs to win domestic and European trophies.

    Other Suitors:

    Samba's impressive season at the heart of Blackburn's defense has put many of England's top-flight clubs on high alert. The defender's rare leadership qualities and physical attributes make him the type of first-choice centre-back that is in high demand.

    With Blackburn willing to sell the player for £8-12 million, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Tottenham have also shown interest in the talismanic defender. Although the aforementioned clubs are possible destinations for Samba, Arsenal are undoubtedly the favorites to land the Blackburn skipper.