Arsene Wenger has, not for the first time, garnered much criticism for his activity during the latest transfer window. Having failed to sign a striker to offer an alternative to Olivier Giroud, Arsenal then moved to provide cover for their host of midfield absentees with a player who is likely to be out for six weeks.
While some of that criticism was overblown, it is certainly true that Wenger, with the exception of Mesut Ozil’s signing, has not made full use of the ever-expanding coffers at the Emirates Stadium. Whether or not Arsenal are successful in ending their long trophy-drought this season, there will again be pressure on Wenger to compete with the club’s rivals in the transfer market and continue to improve their squad.
Here are four players Wenger would be wise to target:
Julian Draxler (Schalke)
The major disappointment in January for Arsenal was their failure to conclude a deal for Schalke starlet Draxler. It appears that the Gunners ultimately balked at matching the player’s €45 million (£37m) release clause (which Schalke were believed to be prepared to honor, even though it is only active in the summer). It is unlikely that his valuation will have lowered by the summer when there could also well be serious competition for his signature from some of Europe’s major clubs. The 20-year-old’s ability has been known for some time and he could be a shrewd investment for years to come. While attacking midfield is hardly a position that Arsenal are in need of strengthening, Wenger’s intention to turn him into a striker is an intriguing one.
Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich)
It looks increasingly likely that the signing of Robert Lewandowski will lead to Mandzukic departing Bayern Munich at the end of the season. In Bayern’s first match since Lewandowski’s arrival was confirmed for the summer, Mandzukic was left out of the squad, amid claims that he had failed to put in the required effort in training. When asked about speculation that he was interested in the Croatia international, Wenger suggested that a summer move is a possibility. He certainly would be wise to keep abreast of developments. Mandzukic is capable of offering the linkup play and the work-rate to enable Arsenal’s array of creative talents to flourish, while the 27-year-old’s goal-scoring record is also mightily impressive.
Seamus Coleman (Everton)
The longer Bacary Sagna goes without signing an extension to his contract, which is set to expire at the season’s end, the greater the chances that the France international will be moving on in the summer. While Carl Jenkinson could still develop into a quality player, he doesn’t yet look ready to be a starting right-back for a club of Arsenal’s stature. One man who increasingly looks equipped to perform such a role, though, is Republic of Ireland international Coleman. The 25-year-old is a constant threat coming forward from deep and his ability on the ball would see him adapt well to being a part of Wenger’s side.
Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad)
There have been plenty of rumors that Arsenal are one of the clubs trailing Sociedad’s left-sided attacking midfielder and it is easy to see why. Having come up through the youth ranks at the La Liga club, the 22-year-old Frenchman is enjoying his most productive season to date, netting 14 times in just 20 league appearances this season. His future is believed to be uncertain beyond the summer, with Manchester United also thought to be sniffing around. Griezmann could be perfect for Arsenal, potentially as an upgrade for the often hit-and-miss Lukas Podolski, with his ability to provide a goal threat from wide and potentially offer another option through the middle.