Arsenal kick off their Premier League season with Newcastle at St. James' Park on Saturday.
While Gunner fans are eager to watch a match instead of discussing tired transfer speculation, it seems impossible to dismiss the persistent rumours that have engulfed Emirates. Not only are Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas still on the club, Arsene Wenger continues to shop for more young reinforcements at forward.
Joel Campbell, a Costa Rican striker with limited experienced, is the Gunners' newest addition after the club agreed to a roughly £1 million deal with Deportivo Saprissa.
"Joel Campbell has already shown that he is a player with great ability, and has also performed well on the international stage at a young age," said Wenger. "We look forward to the formalities of the transfer being completed and working with Joel when he joins us at Arsenal."
The timing of the move will probably raise eyebrows after Wenger brought in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earlier this month. Campbell is 19 years old and only has eight games of club experience, and Chamberlain is just 17 years old. Adding Campbell may signal the end of rumours linking Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema to Arsenal.
Signing Campbell, however, doesn't mean that Arsenal is done pursuing a centre back. Metro reports that Wenger is attempting to add much-discussed central defender Scott Dann of Birmingham for a discount rate. Dann is valued at around £10 million, but Wenger may only go as high as £6 million plus at least £2 million in performance-related fees.
Campbell and Dann remain minor figures in Arsenal's chaotic summer transfer period. The major story is the status of Fabregas and Nasri.
If you believe what you read in The Sun, Arsenal is trying to swap Nasri for Manchester City's Carlos Tevez. The notion seems far-fetched, but at the moment City remains the only likely destination for the French midfielder. How Nasri ends up at Eastlands is up to the two clubs to decide, and it seems inevitable that a deal will be made.
According to the Guardian, Fabregas may join Barcelona as early as Sunday, and Nasri may join City as early as Monday. Arsenal is expected to add a minimum of £50 million for the two starting midfielders.
It doesn't end there. Forward Nicklas Bendtner and right back Emmanuel Eboue are almost certainly on their way out, and Arsenal can expect roughly £13 million for the pair.
This means Arsenal have a huge piggy bank to shop for quality replacements.
The two players that were thought to be the most obvious candidates to join Emirates can be scratched off the list for now. Valencia's Juan Mata, an obvious replacement for Nasri, and Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Jadson, an obvious replacement for Fabregas, are off Wenger's radar.
"We will not do Juan Mata," said Wenger, in The Independent. "I don't have to give you a reason, I just said to you we will not do it."
"We are nowhere near doing that," said Wenger, in reference to Jadson.
Wenger was not fooling anyone in a recent press conference when he said that no player was leaving Arsenal. Fabregas and Nasri would be enormous distractions at this point, so their departures seem to be priorities. Neither player will be in the lineup for the Newcastle match, so Arsenal need to shop for new midfielders by the August 31 deadline.
There are several options beyond Mata and Jadson. Expect renewed interest in one of the following: Eden Hazard of Lille, Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund, Douglas Costa of Shakhtar, Alan Dzagoev of CSKA Moscow, Mathieu Valbuena of Marseille, and Adel Taarabt of Queens Park Rangers, to go along with several other candidates.
According to Metro, Hazard has been closedly monitored. The 20-year-old Belgian might be the most creative young midfielder in Europe, and seems to be a solid fit for the Gunners.
Unless Arsenal were providing false impressions, the club had more money to spend beyond the combined amount they would receive from Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner, and Eboue. That means big changes should be on the way beyond midfield.
Optimism would be running wild for Arsenal fans if there were accurate reports of elite players to join the club, but so far that hasn't been the case.
It is up to Wenger to make a serious push to add world class talent, when perhaps the two best players on Arsenal are set to depart.