Speculation is continuing about Arsenal’s attempts to land a striker at the end of the season. Arsene Wenger has faced criticism for his failure to increase his options up front either last summer or in the January transfer window. It seems unlikely that another window will pass without a front man arriving.
The latest name being thrown into the mix is France international Loic Remy. Arsenal had previously been linked to the forward before he left Marseille to join Queens Park Rangers just over a year ago. He is now enjoying a successful season on loan at Newcastle United, with the Magpies hopeful of concluding a permanent deal. Yet, North East publication, The Journal, has reported their understanding that Arsenal made contact with Remy’s representatives last month about the possibility of him moving to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.
Remy is thought to have a release clause of somewhere between £7 million and £8 million. And, while Newcastle manager Alan Pardew revealed last month that he hopes to sign Remy on a permanent basis, he suggested that the player might consider other options.
“The plan was always that he would be on loan for the year and we had a deal with QPR that that would be the case,” he said. “We would like to do it permanently but there is a long way until that happens.
“It is not quite as simple as [meeting his release clause] as the player and his agents need to make sure it is right for the player and we have to honor that.”
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Remy would seem like a natural Arsenal signing. In terms of his playing ability, the 27-year-old has the pace that Wenger likes and that at times Arsenal have lacked without the injured Theo Walcott. Also appealing is Remy’s versatility to play anywhere across the forward line.
A far more expensive solution to Arsenal’s lack of firepower has also been mooted of late. The Daily Express has picked up on reports in Italy suggesting that Mario Balotelli is keen on an exit from Milan and that there have been talks between his agent, Mino Raiola, and Wenger. According to the Express, Milan are now prepared to sell the former Manchester City man for £40 million. In addition it is claimed that Puma, who have just signed a kit deal with Arsenal and also sponsor Balotelli, will be willing to put up as much as £15 million to make a deal happen.
Perhaps even more outlandish has been the rumors that Robin van Persie could make a sensational return to Arsenal in the summer. Reports from Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri claimed that Wenger (clearly a busy man of late) had met with Van Persie’s agent and that both parties were keen on the deal. The speculation comes amid much talk of Van Persie being unhappy under David Moyes’s regime at Manchester United.
The Daily Mirror has built on the speculation by seizing on the fact that Manchester United have not included Van Persie on a list of perspective new club captains published on their official website. Despite previously captaining Arsenal and currently skippering the Netherlands, he is apparently not considered in contention to take over from the departing Nemanja Vidic. Of course it could just be that all the players listed as potential candidates have been at Old Trafford significantly longer than Van Persie.