It has been yet another underwhelming campaign for Arsenal, allowing Leicester City to gazump them to the Premier League title, failing to maintain their FA Cup dominance following a shock quarter-final defeat to Watford and eliminated from the Champions League at the Round of 16 for the umpteenth year in a row.
With the calls to resign consequentially growing louder than ever, the majority expect Arsene Wenger to spend big in the transfer market this summer, weeding out the chaff of the current Gunners roster and replacing it with top talent that can take the club forward.
Inevitably, rumours linking the north London club with summer swoops for some of the biggest names from the Premier League and abroad are hardly in short supply. In fact, so many potential transfer targets have been mooted in recent months that we’ve been able to create a select XI out of them all.
According to our calculations, based on figures documented in the tabloids, this transfer target XI would set Arsenal back an incredible £296million – not that we’re expecting Arsene Wenger to sign them all!
Arsenal are currently well-endowed in the goalkeeping department through Petr Cech, David Ospina and Roma loanee Wojciech Szczesny. But the latter duo could both leave the Emirates at the end of the season and Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga has been mooted as the Czech international’s potential next understudy by Spanish publication Don Balon.
The 21-year-old already boasts an impressive 136 league outings to his name, including 35 whilst on loan at Real Valladolid in the Spanish second division this season, alongside 21 caps for Spain at youth level. The tabloids are yet to place a valuation on the prodigious ‘keeper, but considering his contract doesn’t expire for another two years and he’s also on the radar at Real Madrid, Football Fancast speculate he’ll cost around £5million.
Filling in at no.2 for this select Xi is Marquinhos who, ironically enough, is reportedly hoping to leave PSG because he’s been unable to claim a starring role over countrymen David Luiz and Thiago Silva at the heart of defence.
Despite struggling to live up to his billing since arriving from Roma in 2013, the 21-year-old remains one of the most exciting young defenders in world football, blessed with great technique, athleticism and a strong reading of the game. He’d suit the Arsenal philosophy perfectly but PSG rejected a £33million bid from Chelsea last summer and it’s unlikely their valuation has dropped significantly since then.
The one that got away, Arsenal came close to signing Kostas Manolas in summer 2014 but eventually missed out to Roma, where he has since emerged as one of the top centre-backs in Serie A.
hat impressive rise combined with Giallorossi’s failure to build on a runner-up 2014/15 campaign has seen a host of Premier League clubs linked with the 24-year-old in recent weeks, most particularly Arsenal and Chelsea. But according to The Sun, the Gunners would have to cough up a whopping £35million for the 23-cap international.
Finishing off an all-Serie-A centre-back partnership is Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who Diego Maradona claims should be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona. But El Clasico’s loss could be Arsenal’s gain amid reports claiming the north London outfit are targeting the rugged Senegal centre-half, who has averaged an impressive 2.5 tackles, 2.5 interceptions, 2.6 successful aerial duels and 3.7 clearances per match this season.
However, Napoli are determined to keep hold of the 24-year-old this summer, so it’s likely Arsenal will have to activate his £31.5million release clause whilst fending off interest from Chelsea and Manchester United.
Arsenal have already seen two bids rejected for Leicester City’s wonderkid defender Ben Chilwell and are widely expected to revive their interest at the end of the season. The 19-year-old is still awaiting his Premier League debut for the Foxes but impressed on loan at Huddersfield earlier this season and is highly-rated within the England fold, representing the Three Lions twelve times at youth level.
The Gunners are targeting the left-back as a potential replacement for out-of-favour Kieran Gibbs. But it appears Liverpool have overtaken the north London outfit in the race for Chilwell’s signature, so Arsene Wenger will have to match their £8million interest.
After firing himself to this season’s Player of the Year award with 17 goals and eleven assists in 36 Premier League appearances, Riyad Mahrez is the talk of the town ahead of the summer transfer window. Arsenal are one of the clubs in the mix to sign him, with France Football claiming they’re already in talks with Leicester City, and the Algerian international’s fluid style would certainly suit Arsenal’s attacking mantra.
But it’s alleged the winger will set the Gunners back somewhere in the region of £40million and Barcelona, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked in recent weeks.
Hot-headed Borussia Monchengladbach skipper Granit Xhaka represents exactly what Arsenal lack in the middle of the park. The Switzerland international is a tenacious tackler, to the extent that he’s picked up three red cards already this season, but also offers consistency in possession, having averaged the most accurate passes per match of any non-Bayern Munich player in the Bundesliga.
Arsenal have been linked with the 23-year-old, once dubbed ‘young Schweinsteiger’ by former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, consistently throughout the campaign and the latest reports from The Telegraph claim they’ve all-but-sealed a £30million deal to bring him to the Emirates this summer.
Yet another Leicester City star reportedly in Arsenal’s transfer crosshairs is energetic enforcer N’Golo Kante, who has averaged the most tackles and most interceptions per match of any Premier League player this season and would add a more dynamic element to Arsene Wenger’s current midfield options.
The France international is hot property ahead of the summer transfer window with Chelsea and Tottenham also reportedly chasing. But the good news for the Gunners is that his contract includes a £20million release clause.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s affluent spell at Borussia Dortmund appears to be coming to an end, with talks to extend his contract beyond the end of next season reportedly stalling over the issue of a release clause. The Armenian international has been phenomenal form this season, combining scintillating speed with technical flair and netting prowess to bag 23 goals in 49 appearances across all competitions – including eleven in the German top flight.
Recent reports have claimed Arsenal are keen on a summer deal around the £23million mark but highly-rated throughout Europe, they face competition from Chelsea and Juventus.
One of the latest rumours to hit the tabloids, Mirror Football claim Arsenal are preparing a £30million swoop for Liverpool front-man Daniel Sturridge. The crocked poacher certainly won’t alleviate Arsenal’s notorious injury woes but his talent remains indisputable, notching up 52 goals in 90 appearances since moving to Anfield from Chelsea back in January 2013.
But not every Arsenal fan is exactly pleased with the idea of the Gunners signing yet another injury-prone player – in fact, some of them are furious.
Alvaro Morata has been on Arsenal’s radar for some time but the Gunners could finally get their hands on the Spain international this summer. The 23-year-old isn’t the most prolific of goalscorers but has a knack of netting on the big occasions, amassing five strikes in Europe as Juventus marched to last season’s Champions League final compared to just eleven across all competitions so far this season. But tall, mobile and technical, he seems a good fit for Arsenal’s lone front-man role.
Rumour has it former employers Real Madrid will activate a buyback clause this summer before selling Morata on for considerably more – potentially as much as £40million – with Arsenal one of the clubs in the frame to pay up.