Arsenal are again being linked to a host of players amid widespread reports that there will be a significant overhaul of Arsene Wenger’s squad this summer.
Italian publication La Stampa has claimed that Arsenal have made Torino center-back Angelo Ogbonna their number one defensive target after trailing the 24-year-old for some time. It is reported that Arsenal are now ready to make a formal offer.
Ogbonna has only recently returned from over two months out with a hernia operation, but interest in the player is not thought to have dampened. La Stampa suggests that Torino would want at least €18 million (£15.85m) for the man who has won five caps for Italy. Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus are also believed to be interested, but Arsenal hope to steal a march with an imminent bid.
With Swansea’s triumph in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday, there has again been speculation over the future of their influential defender Ashley Williams. The Wales international has previously been linked to the Gunners as well as Liverpool.
The Independent reported ahead of the final that both clubs still see Williams as a potential signing.
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Arsenal’s defense has again come under fire this season, with Wenger struggling to find a consistent partnership between Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. With Johan Djourou currently on loan at Hannover and looking likely to move on permanently in the summer, a new central defender could well be in Arsenal’s thoughts.
There are again reports that Arsenal are taking a keen look at Zambia defender Stoppila Sunzu. The 23-year-old, who plays for Congolese side TP Mazembe, was strongly linked to both Arsenal and Reading during the January transfer window.
At the time the 23-year-old’s advisors claimed that the player could move as a free agent and he completed a trial and a medical with Reading. His club contested the deal, however, and the issue has now been resolved, with Sunzu conceding that he has a contract until 2015.
Metro now reports that Reading and fellow suitors Sunderland are not prepared to pay the £4 million fee his club is seeking, which could open the door for Arsenal. However, if Arsenal were not willing to push for a free signing in January, there must be doubts over whether they would do so for a fee come the summer.
Sunzu came to prominence after playing a key role in Zambia’s surprise triumph at the African Cup of Nations last year.
According to Metro, it is Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye that is on top of their wanted list.
It is far from the first time that the France international has been linked with the Gunners, while Manchester United are also said to be interested. Cabaye has been an influential presence for Newcastle since signing from Lille in a £4.4 million deal in 2011.
Metro reports that Wenger is hopeful that an offer of £15 million would be enough to persuade Newcastle to part with the 27-year-old.
There will be doubts, though, whether Cabaye is the type of midfielder most needed by Arsenal. Cabaye’s playmaking abilities are similar to those offered by Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere and Wenger has previously suggested that he would seek a more defensive, physically imposing midfielder.
The club may also be hesitant to commit such a large feel to a player who is likely to have little resale value.