Arsene Wenger has revealed that he will be targeting quality rather than quantity in this summer’s transfer window, but cautioned that the World Cup will delay any arrivals at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal secured qualification for the Champions League for the 17th successive season over the weekend, and, despite having fallen away disappointingly in the title race, Wenger does not believe his squad needs major work.
“It will be busy but the main thing for us will be to keep the stability because we feel we are close,” he said, reports Arsenal’s official website. “We want to add something that makes us even stronger. But number wise it will not be massive.”
Wenger, who insisted that he would sign a new contract to remain at the club, has earned regular criticism over recent years for not only being cautious in the transfer market, but leaving it until incredibly late in windows to make his move. Last summer club-record signing Mesut Ozil arrived on transfer deadline day. Wenger, though, defended the timing of that move, while also pointing out that it is inevitable that much of the business this time around will happen late.
“At the moment I have people around me who start to look [at players],” he explained. “What is available you know always, but we are not on the market specifically at all because teams still play in many countries.
“After that, from my experience, the World Cup years have always been very quiet until the end of the World Cup, with no players reachable. Everybody is focused in the country on their national team and there’s not a lot happening. People are away. I believe this year again you will have to wait until July 15 to start going.”
The £42.5 million capture of Ozil broke with the mold at Arsenal and with money to spend, more big-name arrivals are expected this summer. Having failed to sign a striker in January, it is up front where Wenger’s priority is set to lie. One of the names most keenly linked has been that of Loic Remy. The France international, capable of playing wide or through the middle, has scored 14 Premier League goals on loan at Newcastle United from Queens Park Rangers this season. Wenger,
His appearance in the stands at Arsenal’s match with West Brom then certainly raised more than a few eyebrows then. Wenger, though, has predictably played down any significance to the 27-year-old’s appearance.
“Honestly I have just been informed that Loic Remy was here, I didn't know,” he said. “So don't see any sign of us signing Loic Remy in that. I hope he has paid for his ticket! I did not invite him.”
The Daily Mirror believes that there is a potentially much costlier option at the top of Wenger’s wanted list. The tabloid claims that Arsenal are keen to make a move for prolific Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born Spain international has hit a stunning 36 goals this season and played a huge role in Atletico’s rise to the top of La Liga and their run to the Champions League final.
However, should Arsenal be interested in a transfer, they will face imposing competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea. Jose Mourinho’s team are widely considered favorites to land Costa this summer for a fee in excess of £30 million.
According to the Mirror, Arsenal are also interested in purchasing Costa’s current teammate, attacking midfielder Diego Ribas. The Brazilian is on loan at Atletico for the remainder of the season when his contract with Werder Bremen is set to expire. While Diego has made a notable contribution since his arrival in January, particularly in scoring a spectacular goal in the Champions League quarterfinals against Barcelona, it is questionable whether Arsenal need another advanced playmaker.
Staying on the Spanish theme, sports daily AS has reported that Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny could be a target for Real Madrid. The France international had had a fine season in partnership with Per Mertesacker and Wenger would doubtless fight hard to keep the 28-year-old should any offer come in. Given that Madrid already have plenty of strength at center-back, with Sergio Ramos, Pepe and the prodigiously talented Raphael Varane, it also seems doubtful that they would spend big to land another.