There’s no use crying over spilt milk, but news that Chelsea have completed the signing of former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will leave a rather sour taste in the mouths of the Emirates fanbase.
Indeed, a former fan hero and first team talisman, many Gunners supporters have been left heart-broken by the revelation that Arsene Wenger decided against activating his first refusal option for the ex-Barcelona midfielder, dating back to his original switch from North London to the Nou Camp in summer 2011.
Resultantly, Arsenal fans will be expecting big things from their manager in the coming transfer window to help them overcome the disappointment of witnessing one of their most favoured recent players joining a close Premier League rival.
With that in mind, here’s a list of SIX super-signings that can cure that Fabregas-shaped hole left in the heart of the Gunners’ support.
Commonly regarded as one of European football’s hottest prodigies, bringing long-term target Julian Draxler to the Emirates this summer would certainly have Arsenal the envy of their domestic and continental rivals.
The 20 year-old’s preceding reputation comes from two strong campaigns with the Schalke seniors, the first producing 13 goals in all competitions and the second finishing with impressive averages of 1.8 shots, 2.3 key passes and 4.1 dribbles per match in the Bundesliga.
The attacking midfielder’s ability to score, create and regularly conjure moments of individual brilliance, combined with an unusually lanky 6 foot 2 frame, has often lead to comparisons with Zinedine Zidane.
The Germany international’s £40million release clause has proved too rich for Arsene Wenger’s blood in the last two transfer windows, but a North London arrival this summer would more than compensate for the loss of Cesc Fabregas.
Amid the Gunners’ absence of star-studded quality in the final third, if Arsene Wenger isn’t interested in re-signing Cesc Fabregas this summer, Arsenal fans will hope it’s due to his transfer funds being solely focused on acquiring a world-renowned centre-forward.
Top of that list has to be Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema – quick, tall, powerful and confident on the ball, the 26 year-old would be an ideal fit for the Gunners’ lone striking role.
There’s no doubting his scoring credentials either; since joining Los Blancos from Lyon in summer 2009, the France international has netted 111 times in 235 appearances for the European Champions.
Furthermore, in attacking tandem with former Madridian Mesut Ozil, the duo amassed 20 goals and 25 assists combined in La Liga last season.
It’s believed Benzema is valued at around £30million – but his Bernabeu departure will depend on Real securing an adequate replacement first, with Luis Suarez mooted as the leading candidate.
Another superstar striking addition that would help Arsene Wenger cure some Fabregas-shaped wounds in north London is AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli.
The former Manchester City badboy can be a disruptive influence but there’s no doubting his quality in front of goal. The 23 year-old contributed a vital twelve goals to the Citizens’ first Premier League title in 2012, and since moving to the San Siro in January 2013 has netted 30 times in 54 appearances.
13 goals in 31 outings for Italy – including a header against England on Saturday evening – isn’t a bad return at international level either, and we are yet to witness anything the 6 foot 2 striker can’t do with the ball at his feet.
AC Milan appear surprisingly keen to sell this summer, with the tabloids quoting fees between £20million-£30million, and Arsenal are widely regarded as his likeliest suitors. But recent speculation suggests their interest could be rivalled by French big-spenders Monaco.
Not every superstar is accompanied by a superstar price-tag, and in that regard Arsene Wenger may find Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez more agreeable with his summer transfer budget whilst also meeting the fans’ desire for a major acquisition.
The winger-forward has just completed his strongest campaign to date for the Catalans with 21 goals and 15 assists across all competitions, including 19 goals in La Liga.
But the feeling is that the Chile international hasn’t progressed as expected following his move from Udinese in summer 2011, and resultantly Barca are reportedly prepared to sell for just £25million as they plan a summer of wholesale changes.
Boasting a mixture of tica-taca technique, netting prowess, natural penetration and positional flexibility, Sanchez has a lot to offer the Gunners in the final third.
But due to his well documented availability, Liverpool, Manchester United and several Serie A sides are all believed to be baying for the South American’s signature this summer.
Another star-studded wideman option for Arsene Wenger to consider this summer is PSG’s highly-rated winger Lucas Moura.
The 21 year-old has been in good form this season to record five goals and eleven assists in 36 Ligue 1 appearances, with only half of his league outings coming as starts. But the Brazilian prodigy is better famed for his blistering pace, which has caught attention from Manchester United amongst others in the past.
Having surprisingly missed out on a spot in Verde-Amarela’s World Cup squad, the tabloids believe Moura could be tempted away from the French capital this summer despite the winger’s public assurances otherwise.
The Red Devils have been linked again, but originally purchased for a ridiculous £42million back in summer 2012, it will take an audacious fee to convince the Parisians to sell.
It may be a bit of a pipe-dream, but often compared to Arsenal legend Patrick Viera, Gunners fans will continue to fantasise over the notion of Juventus star Paul Pogba joining the Emirates ranks this summer.
Since leaving Manchester United on a bosman move in summer 2012, the 21 year-old midfielder has won consecutive Serie A titles with the Old Lady and also claimed last season’s European Golden Boy award.
The France international has furthermore just completed a stunning campaign, finding seven goals and seven assists in 36 league outings.
The 6 foot 1 central midfielder boasts an eclectic mix of physical dominance and quality on the ball, best represented by averages of 2.3 tackles, 1.3 key passes and 2.1 successful dribbles per match this term.
Pogba’s ability to drive at the opposition from deep would certainly make the Gunners’ more direct and athletically imposing.
But wanted by Manchester City, Real Madrid, PSG and virtually every major club in Europe, the Viera-incarnate is reportedly valued at £60million by Juve.