Arsenal Transfer Prospects: The Best 10 Players Wenger Can Aim to Sign
It has been a tultmous couple of months for Arsenal. After a dismal conclusion to their season after a horrific demise following their Carling Cup Final defeat at the end of February unraveled their season, the Gunners' are now in internal disarray with a number of key players likely to be departing the Emirates.
Manager Arsene Wenger is fighting a losing battle to extend the contracts of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas which appears to be edging the attacking duo closer to the exit. Veteran left back Gael Clichy has completed a £7 million move to rivals Manchester City and the likes of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie have both been linked with departures.
Amongst all this fracas, Wenger still has failed to secure a quality transfer despite the increased transfer budget. With Arsenal enduring six successive seasons without silverware, the need for success at the Emirates has intensified and many believe this ummer will be a defining transfer window for the North London giants.
Critics and fans are starting to question whether the Gunners' still possess the ability to be a threatening force in the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League as players begin to slowly depart. However the Frenchman will be able to reinstate both the fans trust and World Football's respect should Wenger implement high calibre reinforcements to his youthful squad.
The funds are present it is just a matter of securing the services. Fortunately Wenger has assured the Arsenal faithful that transfers will materialize in the coming weeks.
But just who does the Arsenal manager need to sign to regain Arsenal's stature?
Bleacher Report brings you the best 10 players within Arsene Wenger's reach that can help the Gunners' in 2011/2012.
Per Mertesacker: Werder Bremen
A quality centre half signing is a crucial priority for Wenger and although Werder Bremen's imposing Per Mertesacker is yet to command any transfer speculation, the German is a terrific option for Arsenal. A hugely intimidating presence at 6'6", the 26-year-old is considered one of the most efficient and strongest defenders in the German Bundesliga.
Tough, quick and a natural leader, Mertesacker's presence would help eradicate the lingering aerial frailty the Gunners' have a tendency to possess, whilst providing an immense target when attacking set pieces. With UEFA Champions League and international experience alongside over 215 appearances in Germany's top division, many believe the German international would thrive in the English Premier League.
Arsene Wenger is a noted admirer of the former Hannover 96 centre half and the German has been linked with Gunners' in previous seasons. There have been few current links with Mertesacker and Arsenal but a defensive signing still not acquired by Wenger, the giant German could emerge in the coming weeks.
Werder Bremen are unlikely to refuse offers of £14 million which is well within Wenger's price range.
Yann M'Vila: Rennes
Touted as one of the best midfielders in France, the 21-year-old has emerged as one of the most chased prospects this summer with Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool amongst the names vying for Yann M'Vila's signature.
Primarily a defensive midfielder who is blessed with strength, creativity and composure, the Frenchman burst onto the world football scene two seasons ago and has since amassed 80 appearances for Lique 1 outfit Rennes and ten national caps for France.
The France international enjoyed a stellar 2010/2011 which concluded with selection in the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year and M'Vila now harbours ambitions to grace both UEFA Champions League and English Premier League football.
Arsenal's midfield was greatly criticized for the distinct lack of depth the North London giants possessed and on insight it is obvious M'Vila is an ideal Wenger signing. Young, French and talented, the youngster would be an emphatic signing for the Gunners' as the Frenchman's presence would instill increased depth, solidity and creativity.
With Alexandre Song to miss over a month of football due to participation in the African Nations Cup with Cameroon, and the lingering uncertainty over Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, M'Vila's signature would enable the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to thrive in more attacking roles.
Rennes are aware of their play makers ability and have implemented a £15 million price tag on Yann M'Vila.
Emilio Izaguirre: Celtic
After enjoying seven seasons in the Honduras top division football league, Emilio Izaguirre had a whirlwind first season in European football. The 25-year-old arrived at Scottish giants Celtic from C.D. Motagua as a somewhat unknown left back but after a stellar campaign, the Honduran has become one of the most chased defenders in World Football.
Izaguirre amassed 42 appearances and concluded the season as the SPFA Players' Player of the Year, Clydesdale Bank SPL Player of the Year, Celtics Players' Player of the Year and Scottish Football Writers Player of the Year.
A consistent, strong left back, Manchester United and Liverpool are both immensely interested in the Honduran international but Arsenal can now emerge as favourites with the departure of Clichy. Despite possessing no Premier League experience, many believe Izaguirre has the calibre to thrive in England and due to his ability to deal with physicality and pace combined, believe the Honduran can emulate Ashley Cole.
Rumoured to cost around £8-10 million, Emilio Izaguirre could emerge as the best replacement for Gael Clichy.
Moussa Sow: OSC Lille
French giants Lille enjoyed a stellar 2010/2011 in which the Mastiffs' achieved their first Ligue 1 trophy in 57 years alongside also securing the Coupe de France. Striker Moussa Sow enjoyed a breakthrough season which was pivotal in Lille's success.
The 25-year-old managed 25 goals in 36 league appearances for Lille and concluded an immensely successful season as the Ligue 1 top scorer. A quick, strong efficient striker, Sow could implement a lacking clinical edge to the Gunners' attack which is compacted with taller, imposing strikers.
With Nicklas Bendtner certain to depart the Emirates after declaring his intentions to do so, the Senegal international would become an effective replacement unlikely to breach £14 million.
Gary Cahill: Bolton
The Englishman appears to be the best defensive signing for Wenger and the Gunners'. Cahill has become one of the most consistent and efficient defenders in the English Premier League with constant displays of tenacity and aerial ability.
Wenger is a huge admirer of the 25-year-old and has long chased the England international. Valued at £17 million, Cahill is well within the Arsenal manager's reach and would help eradicate the ongoing central defensive woes currently burdening the Gunners'.
A natural leader and experienced campaigner with over 130 EPL appearances, the former Aston Villa defender is well worth the price tag with Arsenal believed to be Cahill's destination of choice. Although not the most imposing defensive figure, the Englishman possesses the ability to cover ground quickly and compete aerially with the taller strikers in the Premier League.
Wenger has been reluctant to meet the £17 million price tag of Bolton manager Owen Coyle and the Englishman has given the Gunners' a 10-day deadline to finalize a deal for Gary Cahill.
Yoann Gourcuff: Olympique Lyon
With play makers Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas both boasting uncertain futures at the Emirates, many expect at least one of the creative duo to depart Arsenal, commanding a strong fee. Wenger will require a high octane and calibre midfield replacement and many cannot look further than French play maker Yoan Gourcuff.
The 24-year-old ticks all the boxes as a superb Arsenal signing and many believe the former AC Milan starlet will thrive in the English Premier League. An intelligent, composed midfielder who possesses immense feet and an incisive passing range.
Considered one of the best attacking midfileder's in Europe, Gourcuff enjoyed a strong club with French giants Lyon amassing 31 appearances and four goals but is rumoured to boast ambitions to play in the English Premier League.
Wenger's French ties would enable Arsenal to tempt Gourcuff although it could come at up to £18 million but with the rumoured amounts Fabregas and Nasri can acquire, it would hurt the Gunners' financially.
Leighton Baines: Everton
Many view Everton's Leighton Baines as the best left back in the English Premier League and Arsenal fans doubts would be put at immense ease should the Englishman be secured by Arsene Wenger. Manchester City were rumoured as the new destination of choice for Baines with speculation a £25 million bid was being prepared. However with City acquiring Clichy, Arsenal boast an opportunity to pounce.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2010/2011 in which the Englishman was named Everton's Player of the Year with 44 appearances and seven goals. Tough, composed and versatile, Baines is an exceptional defender who boasts over 190 appearances in the English Premier League.
Everton are eager to maintain their star left back but are known to be in financial disarray and may be forced to offload Baines for up to £15 million. Although expensive, the former Wigan Atheltic full back is seen as the best possible replacement for Gael Clichy.
A renowned defender but also a dynamic attacker who possesses one of the best crosses in the English Premier League whilst also being a genuine free kick and penalty converter. Arsene Wenger is eager to reassure Arsenal fans that the Gunners' are still a genuine title threat, this is certainly one way to achieve that.
Juan Mata: Valencia CF
Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin have both been linked with exits from the Gunners' and one thing for certain is that Wenger needs to secure a quality, devastating attacking talent to assure fans and critics of Arsenal's ability to sufficiently challenge for silverware in 2011/2012. The Frenchman views Valencia winger Juan Mata as the ideal attacking presence required at the Emirates, and few can disagree.
Rumoured to have made an £18 million bid for the Spaniard, Mata is a quick and lethal winger who has been an immense force for Spanish giants Valencia in the La Liga for a number of seasons. The 23-year-old has enjoyed four seasons with the Orange and amassed 46 goals.
A diminutive presence whose deceptive speed and quick feet tear through defences, the Spain international is still a developing prospect yet is already on par with the likes of Samir Nasri and Ashley Young in the English Premier League.
If secured Mata will become the most expensive transfer in Arsenal's history whilst also conveying a message of Arsenal's intent in 2011/2012.
Eden Hazard: OSC Lille
As previously stated French giants Lille enjoyed a stellar 2010/2011 campaign and the Mastiff's star attacker and presence Eden Hazard was the focal point in their success.
A devastating attacker, Hazard is blessed with amazing speed and balance alongside great creativity and a ferocious shot. Boasting over 130 appearances for French giants Lille and 19 Belgium national caps, Hazard ticks every box. Did we mention he's only 20?
Many have likened the Belgium magician to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo due to his explosive style of play. The youn gun made his debut for Lille as a 16-year-old and has since won the UNFP Young Player of the Year award twice as well as being named in French League Team of the Year.
Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, Real Madrid all have their eye on the Belgian with Lille demanding up to £30 million for the winger. The one signing all Arsenal fans would love to see, can Arsene Wenger deliver?