Arsène Wenger has confirmed he is still trying to add to his squad during the summer transfer window, but the Arsenal manager was coy on continued rumors linking him with a move for Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira.
Arsenal has already completed deals for Alexis Sánchez and Mathieu Debuchy, but is believed to be keen to bring in a defensive-minded midfielder. Reports have suggested a 25 million euro (20 million pound) fee was close to being agreed between the clubs for Khedira although the player’s personal terms have been a stumbling block. Wenger, though, refused to discuss individuals.
“I can't give you any names because you are never sure that you can do what you want,” he said on Arsenal’s official website. “We are still out there to strengthen our squad.”
Khedira, who won the World Cup this summer alongside current Arsenal players Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, is thought to be available after Real Madrid signed Toni Kroos and with James Rodríguez close to a move. Arsenal may have to move fast, with news Monaco is said to be interested in taking Khedira in part exchange for the transfer of Rodríguez.
Yet, for all his qualities, the 27-year-old is not the natural defensive midfielder Arsenal arguably requires. And Wenger may have his eyes elsewhere. The Daily Mirror reports the Arsenal manager is a big admirer of William Carvalho. The 22-year-old is widely rated as one of Europe’s best young midfielders and has previously been linked with a transfer to Manchester United. Sporting Lisbon has previously refused to negotiate below the player’s 35 million-pound release clause, but the Mirror said the Portuguese giants would be prepared to sell for an upfront payment of 24 million pounds. Carvalho, who was on Portugal’s World cup squad, is said to be open to the idea of moving to the Emirates Stadium.
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Arsenal has also been linked with Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender. Rather than the Gunners, Schneiderlin could now be on his way to north London rivals Tottenham. The Daily Mail reports that the France international would prefer a move to white Hart Lane and a reunion with his former manager at Southampton, Mauricio Pochettino. Schneiderlin has impressed in the past two seasons in the Premier League after coming up through the divisions with Southampton since leaving Strasbourg in 2008.
One position that Arsenal will certainly be reinforcing is that of goalkeeper. Lukasz Fabiasnki and loanee Emiliano Viviano have both left the club this summer, leaving no senior backup for Wojciech Szczesny.
“I will bring in a goalkeeper for sure,” Wenger stated.
The identity of that goalkeeper looks set to be confirmed imminently. On Sunday regional publication Nice-Matin reported that Arsenal had agreed to a fee with Ligue 1 side Nice for Colombia No. 1 David Ospina. The 25-year-old is said to be on his way to north London for a fee of 4 million euros (3.2 million pounds). Ospina’s performances were crucial in keeping Nice in the French top flight last season and he went on to impress during the World Cup as Colombia progressed to the quarterfinals for the first time in the team's history.
Given his pedigree, is seems highly unlikely Ospina will have agreed to a move on the basis of being merely a backup for Szczesny. Fierce competition could well be in store for the position between the sticks at Arsenal next season. After its struggles with goalkeepers in recent seasons, that would be a welcome development.