Arsenal Transfer News: Latest News and Comment from Gunners' Big Summer Targets

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

Schalke's Julian Draxler celebrates his side's third goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between Schalke 04 and Steaua Bucharest in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Having seen the £42.5 million acquisition of Mesut Ozil light up last summer's Premier League transfer window, Arsenal are under pressure to once again spend big in 2014.

It may only be March, but already the Gunners are being linked with targets all over Europe in the hopes that their squad might build on the title challenge of this 2013-14 campaign.

Read on for a breakdown of all the latest speculation and comments regarding Arsenal's summer recruitment drive.

Cheikhou Kouyate, Anderlecht

LIEGE, BELGIUM - APRIL 06:  Cheikhou Kouyate of Anderlecht in action during the Jupiler League match between Royal Standard de Liege and RSC Anderlecht at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on April 6, 2013 in Liege, Belgium.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Imag
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Long has Anderlecht's Cheikhou Kouyate been linked with a move to one of Europe's top five leagues, and it appears that this summer could be the juncture at which a transfer finally materialises.

The player's agent, Saffet Balkan, recently spoke to (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson), claiming Arsenal have already opened discussions regarding a summer swoop:

"Arsenal have been tracking Cheikhou and have now made enquiries [to Anderlecht]. Galatasaray and CSKA also keep close tabs on him. Valencia made a bid in January, but Anderlecht rejected the offer," he said.

Back in January, Squawka looked at the potential impact of Kouyate's arrival at the Emirates Stadium, with the defender having shown his aerial dominance in European competition:

Thomas Vermaelen has faded further into the background at the Emirates this season, and with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny perhaps in need of fresh backup, centre-back Kouyate would appear to fit the bill.

Julian Draxler, Schalke

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

One of the biggest stories over the course of the January transfer window will reignite in time for this summer, with Lukas Podolski opening up this week about the hand he could play in Julian Draxler's potential arrival at Arsenal.

Speaking with German newspaper Bild (h/t London Evening Standard's Tom Dutton) this week, Podolski moved to dissuade rumours he could be traded to Schalke in part-exchange for Draxler's services:

Every top player is of interest to Arsenal - and Draxler is certainly one of those. But I do not know what the [club bosses] are planning.

I only know that a swap deal involving me and him was never a consideration. I am in contact with Julian. He is a great guy... but we haven't spoken about a move.

Having already landed one of Germany's highest-profile exports in the shape of Ozil, Arsene Wenger appears intent on bringing in another fine Bundesliga playmaker this summer. It's just a question of how the move could be engineered.

Robin van Persie, Manchester United

Manchester United's misery this season has led to speculation that Robin van Persie could leave Old Trafford in the summer and it's only natural that Arsenal would become linked with a move for their former hero.

However, the Mirror's John Cross has claimed Wenger is unwilling to take the striker back to North London.

It's a strange turn of events, with the Gunners now in a position to win trophies and the Red Devils entering a period of bleakness during David Moyes' maiden season at the helm of the club.

Time will tell if that lack of silverware is ultimately what sets Van Persie on his way once more, although a switch back to his former stomping ground could be off the cards.

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

Another striker that doesn't look likely to move to North London this summer is Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, who Marca (h/t talkSPORT) claims is close to penning a contract extension at the Bernabeu.

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 09:  Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF reacts as he fail to score during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Levante UD at Estadio Satiago Bernabeu on March 9, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Imag
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Benzema's current deal in Madrid is set to expire in 2015, leading Los Merengues to supposedly offer the Frenchman a new deal rather than lose their forward for a cut-price fee in the near future.

As the report states, Arsenal have been linked with Benzema's services for some time, but would appear to have missed their opportunity.


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