With the January transfer window now passed it’s time to look to its summer counterpart, and judging on Arsenal’s shock defeat to Monaco in the Champions League yesterday evening, the north London outfit have plenty of work to do in the coming off-season.
The Gunners’ intrinsic weaknesses are well-known and Arsene Wenger must address them in the transfer market. Yet, with transfer fees accelerating beyond all proportion in the Premier League’s increasingly corporate era, it’s more vital than ever to ensure you’re not about to sign an absolute dud.
With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE potential flops the Emirates side must avoid like the plague this summer.
Certainly a top-class midfielder and one that would particularly add some much-needed mettle and defensive quality to Arsenal’s engine room.
The German international’s successes at last summer’s World Cup and his claiming of the 2014 Champions League title, combined with his Real Madrid contract expiring at the end of the current season, only increase Sami Khedira’s appeal.
But the 27 year-old’s injury problems are notorious, resulting in him making just 24 La Liga appearances over the last 18 months. The last thing Arsenal need is yet another injury-prone star, and for that reason alone the Gunners should steer well clear of the 6 foot 2 enforcer.
Joao Moutinho was strongly linked with an Arsenal back in November, so after his instrumental role in Monaco’s shock 3-1 win over the Gunners last night, there will likely be calls for Arsene Wenger to sign the Portugal international this summer.
But how much further can another lightweight playmaker really take Arsenal? Moutinho is well acclimatised to deep-lying roles and proved a huge success at Porto and Monaco, but he’s not the physically imposing centre-mid Arsenal desperately need.
Already 28 years of age and valued at the £30million mark, there are so many cheaper alternatives out there that would bring a new dimension to the Gunners.
Moutinho’s a populist choice who could quickly struggle to stand out from the herd in an Arsenal midfield containing the likes of Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil.
A transfer booby-trap of the highest order, although Tottenham and Liverpool have been more commonly linked with prodigious poacher Saido Berhaino, it’s worth warning Arsene Wenger to steer clear too, having tracked the West Bromwich Albion star ahead of January 2013.
You can’t deny the 21 year-old’s talent, boasting 10 goals in 21 Premier League appearances this season and 10 in 13 for the England U21s, continually demonstrating his impressive blend of pace, trickery and netting prowess.
Allegedly valued at a ridiculous £23.5million by the Hawthornes outfit however, only emerging as a twenty-goals-per-season regular would truly justify Berahino’s apparent future transfer fee – which could go up yet another few notches if his supply of goals keeps the Baggies in the top flight and Roy Hodgson decides to issue him an England call-up in March.
There’s plenty of home-grown prospects buzzing around at the minute, ranging from Burnley’s Danny Ings to Everton’s Ross Barkley, but in terms of value-for-money, Berahino is amongst the least desirable.
A transfer rumour courtesy of The Metro, Arsenal are allegedly plotting a £29.2million bid for Broussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer.
The winger-forward’s returns of 41 goals in 96 appearances for former club St. Etienne and 31 in 78 for the Black-Yellows are certainly nothing to be sniffed at, but the 25 year-old’s slender frame could leave him at a major disadvantage in the Premier League, and he’s no better an option than Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck or Alexis Sanchez.
Chelsea purchased Diego Costa for just £3million more last summer, and if you’re to spend that kind of money on an attacker, you’d expect someone who adds a more diverse kind of service to the Gunners squad.
Winston Reid’s awkward physicality and dogged spirit reminds me of a modern day Martin Keown, and with the West Ham defender’s contract set to expire this summer, Arsenal are believed to be one of the club’s courting his signature.
But is the New Zealand skipper really worthy of Champions League football? Yes, he’s a master of the nuts and bolts of the defensive trade, but quality in possession has become equally vital for centre-backs at Europe’s top clubs over the last five years and Reid lacks it to quite an astounding degree.
More filler than thriller and certainly a player that would need to up his game upon moving to the Emirates, even on a free transfer, Reid represents an acquisition that at best offers Premier League-standard consistency, and at worst the distinct likelihood of plummeting straight into the reserve squad, never seeing the light of day again.