Arsenal can still end this season on a real high by retaining the FA Cup, but Sunday’s draw at home to Chelsea effectively condemned the Gunners to another season without a Premier League title. A frustrating afternoon at the Emirates Stadium left Arsenal 10 points off the pace with five games remaining and Chelsea requiring just six points to secure the championship. That would make it more than 10 years since Arsenal have been crowned the best team in England, prompting much speculation that Arsène Wenger will need to strengthen his squad considerably in this summer’s transfer window.
Recent rumors center on players who could bolster the center of Arsenal’s midfield. German tabloid Bild has mentioned Arsenal as one of several possible candidates to secure the signature of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. The in-demand Germany international was reported by Sky Sports in Germany last Friday to be on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, although Dortmund subsequently refuted that claim.
It very much appears that Gundogan will be moving somewhere this summer. The 24-year-old has just over a year remaining on his contract and is finding his form again after an injury that ruled him out for more than a year. His technical acumen and high-energy means he could certainly be a big success in Arsenal’s midfield, although it remains to be seen whether the club will be willing to pay the reported 30 million euros (£21.5 million) asking price and fight off significant competition.
Arsenal have also been linked with another midfielder they came up against in this season’s Champions League. Geoffrey Kondogbia was a driving force for Monaco in their 3-1 victory at the Emirates in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash, overshadowing Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin. Since then it has been rumored that Arsenal could try to bring the France international to the Emirates on a permanent basis. The Daily Star has reported in recent days that the Gunners are tracking the 23-year-old, although it is said that Real Madrid are pursuing a £15 million move.
The Star also claims that Arsenal have an interest in bringing back their former midfielder Alex Song. The Cameroon international left the Emirates to join Barcelona in 2012, but after a disappointing two seasons he was loaned to West Ham for this campaign. He recently stated in an interview, though, that he doesn’t know where his future lies beyond this season, although he would like to remain in the Premier League. Wenger is far from adverse to re-signing former players, as he showed with Mathieu Flamini, Thierry Henry and Jens Lehman, but it would be a surprise were he to do the same with Song having passed up the chance to take him last summer.
Given Arsenal’s wealth of options in the advanced midfield positions, it would also appear unlikely that Wenger will strengthen that department further in the coming transfer window. Still, the Daily Mirror has furthered speculation that the club are keen on Lyon’s highly rated Nabil Fekir. The 21-year-old has been a key figure in Lyon’s surprise contention for the Ligue 1 title this season, scoring 12 goals and contributing nine assists. Having also been eligible to represent Algeria, Fekir made his debut for France last month, and is sure to be in high demand this summer. The Mirror contends that Arsenal are preparing an offer of £15 million, having had him watched several times this season.