As the transfer window cruises into its last 24 hours, Arsenal has finally awoken from its summer slumber.
There have been more "credible" rumors during the last six hours than there have been in the rest of the window. Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board have surely been stung by the humiliating 2-8 reverse against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. The manager has reportedly been given a £70 million transfer kitty, and has been told he can spend it before the window slams shut.
Stories are emerging thick and fast about transfers to and from the club. Two deals have been done today, and more than a handful are reported to be in the works. Here's a quick summary of who's in, who's out and who's somewhere in between:
The club confirmed today that it has signed South Korean captain Chu Young Park from French club Monaco. Park has signed a long-term contract with Arsenal, and has been given the number 9 shirt, previously worn by Eduardo. Here are some images from Park's first official Arsenal photo shoot, and if you're inclined to watch him in action, here's a montage of all his goals for Monaco. Encouraging, to say the least.
Close on his heels is Brazilian left back Andre Santos, set to join from Turkish club Fenerbahce. Reports suggest that Santos, 28, will be signed for a fee in the region of £6.2 million, subject to him passing a medical and agreeing personal terms. Santos has been likened to legendary Brazilian left back Roberto Carlos due to his attacking prowess, and one theory that has already been mooted is that he may be deployed in a midfield role in front of first choice left back Kieran Gibbs.
Another defender who is supposedly in London to complete his medical is German giant Per Mertesacker of Werder Bremen. In fact, certain reports suggest that the deal is as good as done. Arsenal fans are delirious at the prospect of the experienced (75 caps for Germany) 6'6" defender joining the club. It is expected that a possible partnership with Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the defense will ease a number of the club's defensive issues, including a weakness at dealing with set-pieces.
Another rumor that is sure to get the fans' pulses racing is that Arsenal are putting together a club record bid of £25 million for Rennes defensive midfielder Yann M'vila. M'vila will add some much-needed steel to the Gunners' midfield, and will provide competition to Alex Song for a starting place. Alternatively, he may be paired alongside Song in a more defensive formation.
Another possible arrival is Fulham's American midfielder Clint Dempsey, but there has been nothing beyond a reported initial move last week. Fulham are demanding in excess of £10 million, and that price may make the Gunners look elsewhere...
...Whereby I mean inside the club itself, where Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner is still very much on the rolls. All summer there have been consistent reports that he would be sold, but with 24 hours to go, "super-Nick" is still very much an Arsenal player. There are reports today that Bendtner may actually extend his stay at the club, paving the way for woefully-out-of-sorts teammate Marouane Chamakh to leave on loan. With things as they are at present, that's an outcome I would find most agreeable.
To wrap things up, it appears as if deals for Bolton's Gary Cahill, Chelsea's Alex and Florent Malouda, Everton's Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta, Lille's Eden Hazard and Real Madrid's Kaka are completely dead in the water, so that's all I have to say about them. Though if any of them were to sign for Arsenal, I would be pleased as punch.
Arsenal today confirmed that left back Armand Traore has joined Queen's Park Rangers on a three-year deal. Traore could never establish himself during his five year stay at Arsenal, and was loaned out for two one-year spells at Portsmouth and Juventus. He played in the 2-8 humbling at Old Trafford, and having seen how badly exposed he was by the trickery of Nani, Wenger made up his mind to let the defender go. His departure also adds credence to the rumored arrival of the Brazilian, Santos.
If Bendtner stays, as alluded to above, then Chamakh is likely to go. The club will also be keen to move goal keeper Manuel Almunia and defender Sebastien Squillaci out, either permanently, or on loan, as both seem surplus to requirements. And there might be loan deals in the future for some of the younger players, including Costa Rican striker Joel Campbell, who has failed to get a British work permit.
Closing thoughts: In addition to Park, Santos and Mertesacker, Wenger still needs to sign one, if not two midfielders. Hazard or Kaka would be fantastic (though unlikely) additions, and would really lift the club, something desperately needed in the wake of recent events.
Stay busy, Arsenal.
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