Potential Arsenal Transfers There Have Been No Rumours About That Make Sense

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2017

Blaise Matuidi could be the man to solve Arsenal's midfield problems.
Blaise Matuidi could be the man to solve Arsenal's midfield problems.Michel Euler/Associated Press

The transfer window has seen Arsenal linked with so many players that it may sometimes seem as if there are few plausible alternatives left. Gunners manager Arsene Wenger's search for new talent has seen countless players named as potential targets.

However, Wenger is famous for making signings from left field. Take the case of Eduardo da Silva—few Arsenal fans had even heard of the Croatian striker before he was paraded in a Gunners shirt.

In this piece, Bleacher Report digs a little deeper to discover whether there are any players yet to be circulated in regular transfer rumours who could meet Arsenal's requirements this summer.


Blaise Matuidi

Paris Saint-Germain's French midfielder Blaise Matuidi celebrates after winning  the French Cup final football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Angers (SCO) on May 27, 2017, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. / AFP PHOTO / J

Central midfield is one of the areas where Arsenal need to upgrade this summer. Although Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey seemed to jell into an effective partnership at the back end of 2016/17, both players are prone to missing games through suspension and injury, respectively.

Arsenal need someone who can offer cover and competition for Ramsey and Xhaka—and Blaise Matuidi would fit the bill.

In some ways, it's surprising that Matuidi has not been linked with Arsenal more regularly. He's a powerful French midfielder, and Wenger tends to take a shining to that profile of player.

Former Arsenal midfielder Fabrice Muamba is convinced Matuidi is just what Arsenal need. He told The Express: 

"Sometimes you have to buy experience. Arsenal really need to go out there and spend £30 million and get the best central midfielder in Europe - in my view, Blaise Matuidi at PSG.

"Why hasn't Arsenal signed somebody like that? You have to ask Arsene that. Everybody loves him and nobody who has been at the football club will speak against him."

With Paris Saint-Germain having shattered the transfer record to lure Neymar from Barcelona, they presumably will have to sell a few players in order to balance the books. Matuidi could be one of those deemed expendable. If so, Arsenal should surely be prepared to pounce. 

The one thing that may count against the French international is his age. Matuidi turns 31 next season, and Wenger may balk at paying a high salary for a player approaching the end of his career. 

However, Arsenal need someone with the ability to come in and immediately improve their midfield options. Matuidi would provide that. 


Bacary Sagna 

France's defender Bacary Sagna arrives at the French national football team training base in Clairefontaine near Paris, on March 20, 2017, as part of the team's preparation for the upcoming World Cup 2018 qualifiers.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE        (Pho
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

At 34, Bacary Sagna makes Matuidi look young. However, it's still a little surprising that he has not been associated with a return to Arsenal after his release from Manchester City earlier this summer. 

In his time in north London, Sagna proved to be one of Wenger's most impressive signings. He arrived from Auxerre without much of a continental reputation, and he steadily grew into being one of Europe's best right-backs. 

His best days are behind him now, but his versatility and experience could still be useful at the Emirates Stadium. 

Arsenal could do with a back-up right-back. Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson are seemingly not part of Wenger's plans, so there is no obvious deputy to Hector Bellerin. When Arsenal play with wing-backs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can fill that role. 

However, if Wenger intends to use a back four, there is no one who is known first and foremost as a pure right-back. Gabriel Paulista would be most likely to step in, but he can look uncomfortable on the flanks. If Sagna were prepared to play a squad role, he could still be a sensible addition.


Naby Keita

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - APRIL 23: Naby Deco Keita of Leipzig controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and RB Leipzig at Veltins-Arena on April 23, 2017 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Let's allow Arsenal fans to dream, shall we? If Arsenal need a dynamic midfielder, Naby Keita is surely the man top of most fans' wish lists.

Keita's name has become a familiar one in England, thanks to a long-standing link with Liverpool. According to David Maddock of the  Mirror, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp bid as much as £70 million in an attempt to lure the RB Leipzig star to Anfield. 

However, Klopp's interest has failed to bear fruit thus far. Leipzig seem determined to hang on to their star man, and with Red Bull's backing, they have the financial clout to do so.  

Landing Keita looks a tricky task for anyone this summer, but perhaps Wenger could embark upon one of his famous charm offences to convince him to follow in the footsteps of Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas as the new heartbeat of the Arsenal midfield.


Oriol Romeu 

Southampton's Sepanish midfielder Oriol Romeu wins a header during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use

When Wenger needed someone to solve his midfield crisis back in 2011, he turned to a Spaniard with Premier League experience in the shape of Mikel Arteta. Like Arteta, Oriol Romeu was schooled in Barcelona's La Masia academy, and his form at Southampton suggests he is ready for a move back to a big club.

Last season, he was voted Saints' official Player of the Year—beating the celebrated Virgil van Dijk to the prize.

Things didn't quite pan out for Romeu at Chelsea, but he has been revitalised at the St Mary's Stadium. A powerful, intelligent midfielder who keeps things simple, Romeu could be an upgrade on the somewhat chaotic Francis Coquelin.


Jack Butland

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Arsenal will need a new goalkeeper sooner rather than later. With Petr Cech not getting any younger, the decision to allow Wojciech Szczesny to join Juventus looks a strange one. If the Turin outfit consider Szczesny good enough to succeed the great Gianluigi Buffon, surely he had a role to play in Arsenal's future? 

Instead, he's been shipped off to Italy, leaving South American David Ospina and Emi Martinez as Cech's deputies.

However, neither looks a realistic candidate to inherit the Arsenal No. 1 shirt long-term—Ospina's contract expires in 12 months, and there is no real talk of a renewal, while Martinez is now 24 and has only played a handful of top-flight games. In the short term, the Argentinian has been loaned to La Liga side Getafe. 

Stoke City's Jack Butland is someone who would be an intelligent acquisition for Arsenal. Butland is also 24, but he has been a top-flight regular for some time now. He has established himself as one of the most respected goalkeepers in the Premier League and would appear to be the natural successor to Joe Hart as England's No. 1.

On paper, it might seem difficult to convince Butland to leave Stoke for a place on Arsenal's bench. However, if Arsenal could sign him up then loan him back to the bet365 Stadium until 2018, perhaps that could prove to be a viable deal.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and follows the club from a London base.


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