Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly planning a full revamp of the team’s attack this summer with Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus, Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe and Celtic youngster Moussa Dembele said to be on the club’s shortlist of targets.
That’s according to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, who has reported that Wenger is set to stay on at the Emirates Stadium despite speculation he’ll leave when his contract is up at the end of the season. The Gunners chief could be handed a transfer budget in excess of £100 million to rebuild the squad.
In the report it’s suggested the Frenchman has accepted he may lose Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the summer, with the contracts of both men set to expire in 2018 and no movement on an extension.
"That has left Wenger almost resigned to having to plan without them and find replacements for the future, and Arsenal will back him heavily with a massive budget of over £100 million to 'try to take the club to the next level,'" added Cross.
Indeed, it’s suggested in the report that as well as the four targets aforementioned, Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and Valencia youngster Jose Gaya are being considered to strengthen the left-back spot. Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is also said to be admired at the Emirates Stadium.
The coming months will undoubtedly be fascinating for those tied to the north London club, especially if they do chase those stellar targets. Here’s a look at how Lacazette, Reus and Mbappe compare in league matches this season:
|Forward Comparison: Lacazette, Reus, Mbappe, Dembele|
|Apps (Sub)||23 (1)||10 (1)||11 (11)|
|Shots per game||3.1||2.1||1.7|
|Key passes per game||1.7||1.6||0.9|
|Dribbles per game||1.8||1.6||0.6|
|Aerial duels per game||0.9||0.5||0.3|
As noted in the report, Lacazette has long been linked with a move to the Emirates, with a £40 million bid said to have been lodged last summer.
The French international forward is one of the most potent strikers in European football, terrifying defenders with his blistering speed and dribbling skill. Per OptaJean, when he’s in the final third, the 25-year-old is such a threat:
Reus is another player that has been linked with the Gunners in the past, offering incision and intricacy in abundance from the left flank for Dortmund.
This season the Germany international has been limited to just 10 starts in the Bundesliga due to a string of injury problems. When he’s on the field Reus is thrilling to watch, but Arsenal would surely have reservations about spending big money on the forward given how frequently he’s been sidelined with niggles in recent years.
If they are going to spend such a large sum, plenty would prefer to see the club go after European football’s hottest prospect in Mbappe. These numbers from Squawka Football sum up why there is such a buzz surrounding the Monaco man:
Despite his tender years the 18-year-old has been thrilling in 2016-17. His quick feet, turn of pace and ruthless finishing have given the Ligue 1 leaders a dynamic edge in the final third. Mbappe has shown his maturity, too, leading the line to great effect to help Monaco dump Manchester City out of the UEFA Champions League recently.
Dembele is another young striker who is making waves, tearing up the Scottish Premier League with 17 goals in 27 appearances. Here is what he can offer:
Losing Ozil and Sanchez would be a big blow to Arsenal. Both have proved their class in English football’s top flight down the years, and the Gunners have been at their best when their varied attributes mesh in attack. They’d leave a substantial void to be filled.
Still, Arsenal supporters’ pulses will quicken reading the list of players said to be on the club’s radar in the offseason. What will be a concern to some is that it looks set to be Wenger integrating them into the setup next term.