Arsenal’s defeat at rivals Tottenham on Sunday has raised the very real possibility of the Gunners’ unbroken streak of 15 seasons in the Champions League coming to an end.
Arsene Wenger’s side are now seven points behind third-placed Spurs and five points behind Chelsea in fourth. The club has played down the financial impact on missing out on the millions on offer from Europe’s premier competition.
However, it is hard to imagine that qualification will not have a serious impact on Arsenal’s summer transfer activity. Not only will there be decreased revenue that is likely to hamper Wenger’s ability to splash the cash, but, for top level players, Champions League participation is a crucial consideration when considering a move.
Arsenal have been linked to the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze, Barcelona’s David Villa and Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina, but neither of those stars is likely to move to a club that can only offer the consolation of the Europa League.
That is also a view espoused by the Daily Mirror, who report that Arsenal are also drawing up a “B-list” of transfer targets should they fail to make the top four at the end of the campaign.
Wenger is believed to be eager to strengthen his midfield and is keen on Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue. Yet, with the France international said to be interesting both Arsenal and Spurs, it is claimed that he could opt to join the club that finishes higher in the table.
The Mirror lists three midfielders on Arsenal’s alternate list. Most similar in style to Capoue is Celtic’s Victor Wanyama. There have been reports for some time that Arsenal have been scouting the 21-year-old. Manchester United are also thought to be interested, though, and, with Wanyama getting a taste of the Champions League this season, the Kenyan could also potentially be out of Arsenal’s grasp.
Despite Arsenal’s midfield needs appearing to be more for a physical than strictly playmaking presence, it is also said that Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye and Wigan’s James McCarthy have impressed Gunners’ scouts.
France international Cabaye would likely prove an expensive acquisition, given past experience of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s ability to drive a hard bargain.
At 22, McCarthy is five years younger than Cabaye and likely to be available at a lower price, potentially making him a more probable target. The Republic of Ireland international has been a consistently impressive presence in Wigan’s midfield and has been talked of in relation with a move to a bigger club for some time.
Arsenal are also one of the clubs to have been linked with Hamburg forward Heung-min Son. The 20-year-old’s contract is set to expire at the end of next season and he could be on the move this summer if a new deal is not agreed.
The South Korea international’s agents has explained that he is talking with the Bundesliga club but that he is in no rush to put pen to paper.
“We have been talking to HSV and the discussions have been good,” Thies Bliemeister said, according to Sky Sports. “However, there is no time pressure for us or HSV to get a deal sorted.”