As if the pressure on Arsene Wenger wasn’t enough going into their opening match of the season on Saturday, with not a single pound yet spent on transfers, a disastrous 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa has seen fans’ frustration reach levels unprecedented in the manager’s 17 years in charge. Chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” and “spend some money” rang around the Emirates to leave Wenger in little doubt over the views of Arsenal’s supporters.
Wenger has reiterated since that work is ongoing to try and bring in players. “We were on the market before the game and we are on the market after the game,” he said.
Having failed in moves for Luis Suarez, Lars Bender and Luiz Gustavo, Arsenal’s latest target has been revealed as Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye. Once again, though, it appears that the Gunners are hesitating to put up the necessary funds. According to widespread reports, Newcastle have labelled Arsenal’s £10 million bid for the France international “derisory.” Cabaye, 27, who has also been linked to Manchester United, would surely be keen to move to the Emirates with the potential lure of Champions League football. Yet, it seems difficult to believe that Arsenal thought their first offer would receive anything offer than immediate scorn from Newcastle. It is thought that the Magpies will look to recoup as much as £20 million for the former Lille man.
On a deeper level, it is hard to see why Cabaye is being targeted in the first place. While a very good Premier League performer, he is another ball-playing midfielder of which Arsenal are hardly in short supply. He is also not a player to push the Gunners back to seriously challenging for major titles.
Reports also surfaced on Monday of Arsenal’s interest in a midfielder who would genuinely add something to the side. Juventus’ Paul Pogba has been speculated as the subject of a possible £20 million offer. The France international has proven to be a quality, dynamic presence since leaving Manchester United for Turin last summer. But, aged just 20 and with seemingly boundless potential, Juventus are unlikely to be prepared to sell Pogba for anything less than a ridiculous bid. Arsenal, certainly, are not in the habit of paying audacious sums.
As Arsenal’s search for signings becomes increasingly manic with the close of the transfer window just two weeks away, the London Evening Standard has reported that Swansea City duo Ashley Williams and Michu are also under consideration. Williams has long been cited as a target, and the Standard claims that a £6 million bid was rejected for the central defender earlier in the summer. Swansea are believed to be holding out for £10 million for their captain. While Wenger is thought to be highly reluctant to approach that figure, an injury to Thomas Vermaelen and now suspension to Laurent Koscielny could persuade him otherwise.
Michu will prove even more costly with Swansea having no intention to sell the Spaniard and said to value him at £25 million. The 27-year-old arrived from Rayo Vallecano for just £2 million last summer. Arsenal are known to be interested in a striker, but, while Michu scored 18 Premier League goals last season and often led the line, his natural position is playing behind a main striker. With Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky at the club, that is not a position in which Arsenal are lacking.