With the World Cup at the midway point, Arsene Wenger’s prediction that it would be difficult to do transfer business until after the tournament has come to pass, at least for Arsenal. While rivals Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have all made additions to their squad already this summer, Arsenal have thus far remained quiet.
Looking to build on their FA Cup success, and with several players having departed on free transfers, there is a real need to bolster the squad. The priority remains up front. Arsenal have been linked with a number of strikers to provide support for Olivier Giroud, none more so in recent weeks than Mario Balotelli.
The striker had a disappointing World Cup and has faced much criticism for his part in Italy’s early exit. There has since been mixed messaged from Milan’s two vice-presidents. Barbara Berlusconi called Balotelli “replaceable,” while Adriano Galliani has mounted a strong defense of the 23-year-old.
Wenger, meanwhile, has played down talk of the former Manchester City front man returning to the Premier League with Arsenal.
“We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or in the papers,” he told beIN Sports. “Sometimes it is created by agents or by press who need news. But in this case, it’s not true.”
Such comments far from signify that a deal isn’t in the works, given Wenger’s famed coy approach when discussing prospective transfers. According to the Daily Telegraph, Arsenal are also exploring an ambitious pursuit of Alexis Sanchez. It is reported that Arsenal have already made an inquiry for the Barcelona forward, who is currently impressing at the World Cup with Chile. Sanchez could well be available for £25 million as part of a summer shakeup at the Camp Nou. Juventus and Liverpool have also been strongly linked.
One forward who won’t be making his way to the Emirates is Carlos Vela. There had been much talk that Arsenal would exercise a buy-back clause that was insisted upon when the Mexican left the Gunners for Real Sociedad in 2012. Instead, the Spanish side have paid Arsenal £12 million after they waived the option to bring him back.
“Real Sociedad have reached an agreement with Arsenal FC which will allow Carlos Vela to continue at the club on a permanent basis,” read a Real Sociedad statement.
“The player meanwhile, has signed a contract extension which ties him to Real Sociedad for the next four seasons. The player's previous contract was due to expire in June 2016. The Mexican striker has now formally signed his new contract.”
Arsenal are also faced with the task this summer of replacing Bacary Sagna. The right-back has left on a free transfer and could be replaced by the player currently keeping him out of the France team at the World Cup, according to the Daily Mirror. Mathieu Debuchy has had a mixed time since moving to Newcastle United 18 months ago from Lille but has impressed in Brazil thus far. The 28-year-old is reportedly an £8 million target for Arsenal, with the possibility that Newcastle will ask for Gunners right-back Carl Jenkinson to be included as part of a transfer.