One of the pieces of Arsenal transfer news that the fans are most keen to read about is the capture of a top class defensive midfielder, although whether Arsene Wenger agrees with us is anyone’s guess. Hopefully he does, but the Frenchman is still likely to want a player that is technically adept and with a good passing ability as well as the energy, power and battling qualities to stand up to the rigours of the Premier League.
Someone, the player’s agent perhaps, may have been trying to give Arsene Wenger the hurry-up to complete the transfer of Mario Balotelli to Arsenal. Because reports started to appear in the media that Arsenal’s back-up option in case the deal for the Italian fell through, was on the verge of signing for someone else.
That player, supposedly second on Wenger’s wish list of centre forwards, is Mario Mandzukic, and the reports claimed that he was very close to agreeing a transfer from Bayern Munich back to his former club Wolfsburg. Many media outlets in Germany were reporting it as almost a done deal, but the Bundesliga club have quickly spoken out to rubbish the rumours, as a report in The Express reveals.
Some fans might say that Arsenal, in the last few years under Arsene Wenger, have been the Premier League team that most took up the idea of possession style, tiki-taka football, as used to such great success by the Barcelona of Pep Guardiola and the Spain national side.
I think, however, that a lot of teams, to one extent or another, tried to emulate that football, mainly because it was working so well. Arsene Wenger has always tried to use technically gifted players and to keep the ball, but to marry it with pace and power. You might think that has been a bit lacking recently, but the signings of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were clearly meant to add speed and a more direct approach, while Bendtner and Giroud were a step away from pretty patterns towards a more physical approach.
Even if Arsene Wenger had decided to call it a day and leave the Arsenal managerial position to someone else this summer, he would still have gone down in history as the club’s most successful manager in history, up to this point at least.
But despite guiding the Gunners to five FA cups and three Premier league titles, there is a glaring gap in his record, and I am not talking about the fact that Arsenal have lost two league cups and failed to win one under the Frenchman. Despite reaching the UEFA cup final in 2000 and the Champions League final in 2006, Wenger has not been able to add another European title to the Gunners’ 1994 Cup Winners cup and the Inter-Cities fair trophy of 1970.
As Arsenal fans celebrate a long awaited FA cup trophy and everyone connected with the club starts to look to the future with renewed confidence and optimism, it looks like Chelsea may have taken advantage of Arsene Wenger’s deliberations and snapped up two of the strikers that were reportedly on the Gunners’ list of possible summer signings.
The transfer market is not officially open yet, but as we know that does not stop talks taking place and agreements being made. According to a report in the Daily Star, that is just what Chelsea have done with Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic. It was already believed that Jose Mourinho had won the battle for the Brazil born Costa, who still has the Champions League final to worry about after Atletico Madrid clinched La Liga at the weekend.
It is not quite a knockout blow to Arsenal’s transfer pursuit of Bayern Munich’s Spanish star, but it is certainly quite a big blow to our chances. The speculation was that Arsenal were among a number of clubs chasing Javi Martinez, because there was a strong suspicion that he was not happy with his lot at the Bundesliga champions.
A Talksport report has thrown some doubt onto that theory by revealing that the versatile player has refuted claims that he wants a move away from the Allianz arena. Despite just 18 appearances in the German league during this campaign, the 25-year old has declared that he is happy at the club and quite willing to stay, as long as he is wanted.
It has been, at times, a difficult first season at Arsenal for Mesut Ozil. The former Real Madrid midfielder accepts that there have been some ups and downs along the way, but at least it seems to be finishing on the up. So Ozil has declared himself to be reasonably happy with how his first year with Arsenal has gone and he is targeting an FA cup final victory to finish it off in style.
Arsene Wenger did not waste much time after hearing that the Arsenal centre back Laurent Koscielny was being targeted by some big hitters around Europe, according to reports from France. The Prof has moved quickly to instigate a new deal for his star defender, and may have just done a bit more business at the same time.
A Talksport report reveals that the same man, Stephane Courbis, acts as the football agent for both the current Arsenal man Koscielny and a player we have been heavily linked with, Serge Aurier. The report goes on to state that news from France is that Wenger has held a meeting with Courbis in London this week, so there might be good news on the way from two fronts.
Whether or not Arsenal keep hold of Olivier Giroud this summer, and I for one hope we do, it is still expected to be a big transfer window for the club. And one of the main targets is going to be a top quality centre forward. And if the reports are true, Arsenal’s list may have just got smaller.
Two of the players most heavily linked with a move to the Emirates are the Atletico Madrid and Spain striker Diego Costa and the Bayern Munich and Croatia star Mario Mandzukic. I know that most of you Arsenal fans out there would prefer Costa, but unfortunately it is him that Arsenal may have to forget about signing.
I am sure that, like me, many Arsenal fans have taken great pleasure in seeing Chelsea and Jose Mourinho start to crumble spectacularly as their Premier and Champions League campaigns begin to hit the skids. And the not-so-special-after-all one ranting yet again about his strikers was music to our ears.
But it does mean that Arsene Wenger is likely to have a tougher time of it in the transfer market this summer, especially when it comes to strikers. One of the front men who is reportedly high on Arsenal’s shopping list is the Bayern Munich and Croatia international striker Mario Mandzukic, but according to a Metro report, Chelsea have stolen a march on us in the race to sign the prolific 27-year old and have already met with his agent in London.
Just like every other Arsenal fan on the planet, I would love to see Arsene Wenger set down a real marker this summer and splurge a huge portion of his transfer budget on a striker like Edinson Cavani, but in reality I cannot see it happening. That does not mean that there are not some real top quality front men out there and there are two especially I think that Wenger should be going for.
If you believe what you read in the papers, Arsenal have already tried to sign Julian Draxler. A January bid from the Gunners was revealed, or claimed by Horst Heldt, the sporting director of the German starlet’s current club Schalke 04.
Herr Heldt has been at it again, according to a Sky Sports report, in which he says that Schalke are very confident about keeping their exciting young player, despite the fact that there is a release clause in Draxler’s current contract, thought to be getting on for £40 million.