With the transfer deadline a month away, Arsenal may be stepping up their push for a Premier League title with a pair of notable La Liga stars linked to the club. Arsenal are set to face Chelsea on Sunday in the Community Shield, with basically the same roster as last season, though a lot can change in a matter of weeks with Arsenal often waiting until the final days of the deadline to make serious bids.
The big story from Arsenal this week is the prospect of Sergio Busquets arriving at the Emirates. Spanish publication Sport reported that manager Arsene Wenger is planning to make a move on the Barcelona defensive midfielder, with the transfer figure at £24.4 million. Arsenal have failed to pay top dollar for an elite defensive midfielder, and Busquets is among the best in the world at the position.
While Busquets would be a dream signing for Arsenal, it seems unlikely that Barcelona would let him leave the club, and perhaps more confounding would be Arsenal’s willingness to pay his heavy salary wages. The 27-year-old earns £120,000 a week and is under contract until 2018. Arsenal would almost certainly have to give Busquets a raise to tempt him to leave the comforts of Camp Nou.
Arsenal have also been in the market for a No. 9, and with the interest of adding competitive pressure on Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck. The name that has kept popping up, and for several years, is Karim Benzema. Reports surfaced earlier this month that Arsenal made a bid of £31 million, which was rejected by Real Madrid. The Express reports that Madrid will accept a £40-million offer for the 27-year-old, but it might still be difficult to pry the French star away.
“Karim is very happy at Real Madrid and he will be a Real Madrid player by the end of this transfer window, 1,000 per cent,” Benzema’s agent Karim Djaziri told Sky Sports last week. “Karim is not looking to move anywhere this summer.”
Perhaps if Benzema does indeed stay in Madrid, Arsenal could turn their attention to Robert Lewandowski. The Express reports that Arsenal may bid £35 million for the Polish striker. Lewandowski, who left Borussia Dortmund in 2014 for Bayern Munich, has been on Manchester United's radar this month, according to the Daily Telegraph. Lewandowski, 26, has scored 17 goals in 30 appearances for the Bundesliga titans, and it’s difficult to envision Munich allowing him to leave for London after just one season.
In a particularly inactive summer session, Arsenal have yet to find the star forward and defensive back that many believe would vault them to the top of the Premier League. Busquets, Benzema and Lewandowski would all represent a breakthrough move in 2015, after adding central midfielder Mesut Ozil in 2013 and versatile winger Alexis Sanchez in 2014 on lucrative deals.
The lone addition for Arsenal has been goalkeeper Petr Cech. But the list of departures is long, though not concerning. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and full back Carl Jenkinson were not expected to receive extensive playing time in the upcoming season due to depth at their positions, and have therefore been loaned to AS Roma and West Ham United, respectively. Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Abou Diaby (Marseille), Ryo Miyaichi (St. Pauli) have left the club on transfer deals, along with Semi Ajayi (Cardiff City), George Dobson (West Ham), while Ainsley Maitland-Niles was loaned to Ipswich Town.
Meanwhile, Daily Star reported that Arsenal have drawn interest from Palermo, Real Sociedad and Trabzonspor about a £7 million deal for winger Joel Campbell. Arsenal signed the Costa Rican in 2011 for roughly £1 million. The 23-year-old has had loan spells with Lorient, Betis, Olympiacos and Villarreal, and showed promise in the brief time he featured for the Gunners.