Silly season is well underway as we approach the middle of the summer window and transfer rumours are circulating with incredible velocity here at Football FanCast.
So quickly, in fact, that we’re struggling to keep track of them all. You probably are too, and thus we thought it would be a good idea to start compiling all the rumours regarding the Premier League’s top clubs into one easily accessible place, trimmed down into digestible chunks with a simple-yet-effective ‘Three In, Three Out’ format.
This is FFC’s third edition involving north Londoners Arsenal, who are expected to be particularly busy in the market this summer with both eyes firmly set on reclaiming the English crown after a decade-long title drought. According to director Lord Harris, Arsene Wenger has a whopping £200million to spend.
So are the Gunners on the verge of acquiring some title-winning material? Who’s heading out of the Emirates exit door? Read our Three In, Three Out to discover Arsenal’s next move in the market.
Mathieu Flamini has certainly served a purpose since returning to the Emirates from AC Milan on a free transfer in summer 2013, as one of the only out-and-out holding midfield options in the Arsenal squad.
But now 31 years of age and a lightweight shadow of the ‘running man’ who drew plaudits during his first Gunners spell, it appears the Frenchman’s second Arsenal tenure is coming to an end.
According to reports from The Express on Monday, the 5 foot 10 midfielder is set to join up with former Gunner Lukas Podolski at Galatasaray, setting the Turkish club back around £2.8million. Likewise, talkSPORT claim the fee has already been agreed.
Interestingly, it’s the first transfer fee ever paid for Flamini, having left all of his former clubs under the bosman ruling.
According to The Express, Mathieu Flamini’s replacement could come in the form of Barcelona youngster Sergi Samper.
Arsenal have made a habit of cheekily prizing away some of La Masia’s best products amid uncertainty over their immediate future at the Nou Camp – Cesc Fabregas, Jon Topal and Hector Bellerin being the obvious examples – and Samper represents the latest episode in that recurring trend.
The 20 year-old made his debut for the Catalans at the start of last season, during a 1-0 win over APOEL FC in the Champions League’s group stages, and has been compared in style to Arsenal skipper and fellow Barca product Mikel Arteta.
He’s highly rated around the Nou Camp but faces world-class opposition in Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta for a first team role and is further concerned his progress could be hindered by Barcelona B getting relegated to the Spanish third tier at the end of last season.
The prodigious playmaker’s contract includes an £8.4million release clause which the gunners are reportedly more than happy to meet – and reports yesterday evening claimed he’ll hold ‘crunch talks’ with Sporting Director Robert Fernandez over the next few days.
Technically, Abou Diaby isn’t an Arsenal player anymore, having been released at the end of last term after managing just 32 Premier League appearances in five seasons due to perhaps the worst injury record the English top flight has witnessed since the days of Darren Anderton.
But having spent nearly a decade in north London, initially arriving from Auxerre in January 2006, I’m sure Arsenal fans hold a vested interest in discovering what path the former France international’s career might take next.
Some have suggested early retirement for the 29 year-old, but according to Mirror Football he’s currently in talks with West Bromwich Albion over a pay-as-you-play deal. Sky Sports claim he’s due for a medical this weekend and with few alternative options on the table, a move to the Hawthorns seems more than likely.
Striker rumours have dominated Arsenal’s column inches this week and they appear to be validated by Lord Harris claiming Arsene Wenger has over £200million to spend this summer with a centre-forward at the top of his wishlist.
And according to The Independent, amongst other sources, the Gunners have already seen a £28.7million bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang rejected this week.
The lightening winger-forward, once dubbed ‘the African Neymar’, boasts an impressive return of 42 goals in 95 appearances the Black Yellows. Last season he finished up as the club’s top scorer and top assister, earning him a spot in the Bundesliga’s Team of the Year.
He’d certainly benefit from the copious supply of through balls playmaking magicians Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey could conjure up from midfield, and The Daily Star believe Arsenal are likely to return with a improved offer in the near future – despite Dortmund director Michael Zorc insisting the 26 year-old won’t be sold this summer.
Meanwhile, talkSPORT claim local rivals Tottenham are ready to contest the Gunners for Aubameyang’s signature.
Although the £10million arrival of Petr Cech hasn’t completely ended Wojciech Szczesny’s Arsenal career, it’s certainly limited his first team opportunities for the foreseeable future.
And according to The Guardian, the Poland international is now set to join Roma on loan for next season, with the view to acquire him permanently next summer for a £3.5million fee.
They’ll pay his wages in full and according to The Daily Mail have also coughed up an initial £250k – although it’s worth pointing out the deal hasn’t been made official just yet.
What that means for David Ospina remains to be seen. His agent admitted to holding talks with Fenerbahce last month but Szczesny’s departure suggests the Colombian international will be retained as Cech’s understudy.
A somewhat more speculative rumour to end things on but an interesting one nonetheless. According to Spanish journalist Kike Marin, the Gunners are targeting Robert Lewandowski as a potential alternative to Karim Benzema – whose agent claims he’s ‘1000%’ staying at Real Madrid for next season.
The Poland international is up there with the most talented centre-forwards in world football, boasting 206 goals in 380 appearances throughout his career and perhaps best famed for netting four past Real Madrid at the Bernabeu during the 2013 Champions League semi-final.
He signed for Bayern only last summer but having arrived from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer, the German giants would take a very handsome profit on the 26 year-old should they decide to sell.
Lewandowski’s agent has claimed Bayern would only sell for in excess of £35million – but in the grand scheme of things, that’s hardly a sum beyond the reach of Europe’s biggest clubs. We also know the Bavarians have no intention of selling Thomas Muller to Manchester United this summer, so they won’t exactly be left short-handed if Lewandowski were to leave.
It may not be on the backpages just yet, but Football Fancast see plenty of scope in this story.