Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Ranking the Gunners' 10 Most Likely Summer Signings
There have been countless rumours surrounding the Gunners and Wenger's summer plans to bolster the current squad. Although there has been speculation as to who the club should sign and why, the Frenchman now must turn his attention to the most realistic targets.
While there have been world-class players linked with a move to the Emirates, Wenger has yet to show a willingness to splash out cash on big-name players.
The Frenchman has become known for his bargain buys and tight financial control. Although Wenger has money to spend, he will probably stay with the same transfer policy he has implemented as in recent years.
Here are Arsenal's 10 most likely summer signings.
10. Karim Benzema
Name: Karim Benzema
Club: Real Madrid
Projected Transfer Fee: £26 million
Transfer Chance: 2/10
Benzema has stated his desire to remain at Real Madrid, cooling off rumours linking him with a move to Juventus or Arsenal. Wenger had previously expressed his admiration for the French striker, making him one of the top summer targets for the Gunners.
However, Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has recently reiterated his wish to keep the Madrid No. 9. Although Benzema has not cemented a starting place in Mourinho's first-team, the Portuguese tactician seems confident that the young striker will continue developing and play a significant role for Los Blancos.
The Frenchman's transfer fee will price the Gunners out of a deal for the Madrid hitman. Unless Benzema is involved in a player plus cash deal involving captain Cesc Fabregas, it is unlikely that the striker will be wearing an Arsenal shirt next season.
9. Radamel Falcao
Name: Radamel Falcao
Projected Transfer Fee: £26 million
Transfer Chance: 3.5/10
After Falcao's stellar season for Porto, in which he scored 38 goals in 42 appearances, the elite European clubs all showed serious interest in signing the Colombian striker. The Porto star's aerial prowess and finishing ability makes him one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe.
Arsenal and Tottenham have emerged as the two main contenders in the race to land Porto's leading hitman. The two London clubs are both in need of attacking reinforcements, and Falcao could be the best natural goal-scorer on the market.
Although Wenger plans to sign South American talent this summer, Falcao's £26 million transfer fee will most likely force the Gunners to look for alternatives. The Colombian has undeniable talent, but he does not have experience against elite European competition. His transfer fee would be a huge gamble for the Gunners, especially with Wenger's famed financial control and transfer policy.
8. Gary Cahill
Name: Gary Cahill
Projected Transfer Fee: £15-£20 million
Transfer Chance: 4.5/10
Cahill's impressive displays at the heart of Bolton's defense has put big-spending Manchester City on high alert. With the prolonged absence of Kolo Toure, manager Roberto Mancini will be looking to sign a partner for Vincent Kompany.
Although Cahill would be an ideal fit for the Gunners, City's limitless funds make them the favorite to land the Bolton defender. However, with Ajax's Jan Vertonghen also linked with a move to Eastlands, Arsenal could swoop for the highly rated English centre-back.
Wenger has stated his desire to sign tall central defenders with EPL experience. Bolton's defensive leader fits all the criteria. Cahill would provide great balance to Vermaelen and give some stability to the weak Arsenal backline.
While the Englishman would be a welcomed addition to the Gunners, Wenger does not have the transfer budget to compete with City. The Frenchman will most likely lose out to the FA Cup champions, giving Arsenal less than a 50-50 chance of acquiring the English defender.
7. Jan Vertonghen
Name: Jan Vertonghen
Projected Transfer Fee: £12-£15 million
Transfer Chance: 6/10
Similar to the Gary Cahill situation, Manchester City are the main obstacle between Arsenal and Ajax's Jan Vertonghen. The Citizens have expressed interest in the Belgian centre-back, as they look to pair the 24-year-old defender with compatriot Vincent Kompany. Vertonghen would give City a young and dynamic central defensive partnership.
Although Eastlands is a possible destination for the Belgian, their pursuit of Cahill could open the door for Arsenal to sign the Ajax vice-captain. While two left-footed centre-backs would not be ideal, Vertonghen and Vermaelen have played together for Belgium and were teammates at Ajax. The Ajax star would give the Gunners a ball-playing centre-back to balance the more physical, tough-tackling style of his compatriot.
If City acquires the Bolton defender, Arsenal will become the main contenders to land Vertonghen. The Belgian's versatility would be an additional bonus for the Gunners, as the squad lacks cover at the left back and defensive midfield positions. Vertonghen's transfer fee is well within Wenger's price range, making him one of the more likely signings this summer.
6. Bojan Krkic
Name: Bojan Krkic
Projected Transfer Fee: £16-£18 million
Transfer Chance: 6.5/10
The 20-year-old Barcelona striker has struggled to get first-team football for the Spanish and European champions this season. With manager Guardiola's 4-3-3 formation, Bojan has to compete with the likes of Messi, Villa and Pedro for a spot in the starting XI.
Although the starlet has reiterated his desire to stay with the Spanish giants, the club will contemplate selling the striker in order to fund the acquisitions of Udinese's Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.
Bojan's experience playing in a passing, possession-based system would make him a great fit for the current Arsenal squad. He has the technical skills, pace and finishing ability that will give the Gunners an extra dimension in the final third. Wenger would most likely deploy the Spaniard on the left side of an attacking trio, with Robin van Persie through the middle and Walcott on the right.
With Barcelona's heavy pursuit of Fabregas, Krkic would be a sensible makeweight in a player plus cash deal. Although Liverpool and Udinese have been linked with the young striker, the Gunners have Barca's most coveted long-term transfer target on their books.
Wenger will be reluctant to sell the talismanic skipper, but Arsenal can only resist the Catalan giants for so long. Barca's determination to sign Fabregas makes it a good chance that Bojan will be at the Emirates next season.
5. Mamadou Sakho
Name: Mamadou Sakho
Projected Transfer Fee: £12-£18 million
Transfer Chance: 7.5/10
Sakho's stock has soared this season after impressive displays for both club and country. The PSG captain has been exceptional in Ligue 1 and has been solid for the national team as well. The French starlet has emerged as an outstanding leader and one of the best young centre-backs in the world.
Sakho is a tough-tackling, dynamic central defender. The Frenchman combines pace, strength and aerial ability, with good balance and composure on the ball.
Although Manchester United and Chelsea have been monitoring Sakho's development at PSG, Liverpool has become the main competitor to land the young star. The Frenchman's unique combination of pace and strength makes him an ideal fit for the EPL.
While he excels at the centre-back position, Sakho can also play at left back. The highly touted PSG starlet has all the potential to become an elite central defender in the future.
Wenger has been known to prefer French talent, which marks Arsenal as the most likely destination for the young defender. With many of his international teammates already at the club, the PSG captain would be a welcomed addition.
The Gunners' defensive woes have been one of the main areas of concern for the past few years. Although the left-footed Frenchman would not be the ideal partner for Vermaelen, his talent and skill set would be a boost for the weak Arsenal backline. Sakho could become the next great captain of the Gunners, and Wenger will be more than willing to pay his £12-£18 million transfer fee.
Projected Transfer Fee: £15 million
Transfer Chance: 8/10
Gervinho has earned rave reviews for his impressive season with Ligue 1 champions Lille. His all-around contribution to the team was a major factor in their title-winning campaign. The versatile striker contributed 14 goals but also emerged as a formidable creator from the wing. The Ivorian has the physical qualities and technical ability to succeed in the EPL.
Although the Lille striker has been exceptional this year in French football, he looks set for a move to England. Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle have emerged as possible destinations for the Ivorian. The French champions have started a bidding war for Gervinho, and they undoubtedly will be looking to cash-in on the talented striker.
Gervinho's style of play and admiration for Arsenal make him one of the club's most likely summer acquisitions. Wenger needs to bring in another attacking option, and the Ivorian's versatility makes him a great fit for the Gunners.
Gervinho would provide excellent cover on both wings, and he could also feature as a deep-lying striker in behind Robin van Persie. Lille's asking price of £15 million might be slightly inflated from Wenger's valuation, but it looks highly likely that the Gunners will sign the Ivorian this summer.
3. Christopher Samba
Name: Christopher Samba
Projected Transfer Fee: £12 million
Transfer Chance: 9/10
Samba has emerged as the top centre-back linked with the Gunners. Wenger has publicly stated his intention to sign tall and experienced EPL defenders, and the Blackburn captain fits the billing. He is a natural leader at the back and a dominant force in the air. For an Arsenal side that has lacked defensive consistency and solidity, Samba has emerged as an excellent solution.
Aston Villa, Newcastle and Tottenham are also possible destinations for the imposing centre-back. His physical attributes and leadership qualities make him one of the top defenders available in the summer transfer window. Blackburn will be looking to keep their captain and defensive leader, but European football and the chance to win titles will be difficult for Samba to resist.
Although his market value has risen from £8 million to £12 million, the Blackburn captain still looks like the probable defensive signing for the Gunners. Wenger would love to bring Samba's determination and tenacity to the Emirates. While there is still a possibility that the Congolese defender stays at Ewood Park, Wenger is extremely likely to sign the towering centre-back.
2. Ricardo Alvarez
Name: Ricardo Alvarez
Club: Velez Sarsfield
Projected Transfer Fee: £6-£12 million
Transfer Chance: 9.5/10
Alvarez was recently rumoured to have signed a pre-contract with the Gunners. Reports incorrectly stated that his contract was due to expire with Velez and that Arsenal would be able to land the Argentine winger on a free transfer. Although the Alvarez is under contract at Velez, he is still destined to wear an Arsenal shirt next season.
Wenger has stated his interest in signing South American talent. With Alvarez being the first player linked with a move Arsenal this summer, he will most likely be one of the Gunners' first signings. The Argentine has a great left foot, as he boasts excellent close control and a thunderous long-range shot. At 6'2'', he has the size to withstand the EPL's physicality and the technical ability to flourish in Arsenal's passing style of play.
Alvarez fits the criteria of a typical Wenger signing. The Frenchman is known for bringing in unknown talent for a reasonable fee. The Velez star has been one of the outstanding players in Argentina this year and would be a great acquisition for Arsenal.
Although he lacks the European experience as some of Wenger's other targets, Alvarez has the technical ability and versatility to help the Gunners in the final third. While he has not penned a pre-contract with the North London club, the Argentine playmaker is almost a lock to be one of Wenger's summer signings.
1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Name: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Projected Transfer Fee: £12 million
Transfer Chance: 10/10
Recent reports from the Dailymirror, claim that Arsenal are set to sign Southampton's talented young winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Many of England's top clubs have been closely monitoring the Englishman's development. Chamberlain provides genuine width and blistering pace, making him one of the most highly touted English youngsters.
With Liverpool landing Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones' move to Manchester United, Arsenal will be doing all they can to acquire the talented winger. Quality English players are in high-demand, and Wenger will want to swoop for Chamberlain as soon as possible.
Although newspapers and rumours cannot always be trusted, Arsenal will sign Chamberlain in the transfer window. Wenger has been a long-term admirer of the young winger, and his £12 million valuation is well within the Frenchman's price range.
While no deal between Southampton and Arsenal has been confirmed, Chamberlain will be moving to the North London club. Anything can happen in football, but the young winger looks set to wear an Arsenal shirt next season.