Arsene Wenger has been in revelatory form in his press conference on Thursday concerning Arsenal’s activities in this month’s transfer window.
Most exciting to Arsenal fans is likely to be Wenger’s assertion that he is interested in prolific Napoli forward Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan is one of the world’s most in-demand front men after scoring 49 league goals in the past two seasons in Serie A and registering 16 goals in just 17 appearances this campaign.
Cavani, 25, was heavily linked to Chelsea and Manchester City in the summer, while Juventus are also believed to be interested. Napoli revealed recently that they rejected a €55 million (£45.9m) bid from an unnamed club in the last transfer window before securing him on a new deal until 2017 with a buyout clause of €63 million (£52.5m).
But Wenger has claimed they are ready to spend big.
"Cavani is a player that I like” he said, according to the Guardian “Will he cost a lot of money? That's for sure. Nobody would deny that. [But] our banker lives just next to me at the moment and he is ready if we find the right player."
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Such a deal would be a huge surprise given Arsenal’s previous spending record. The most the Gunners have ever paid for a player still stands at the £15 million they handed over for Andrei Arshavin. Not only would the size of the transfer fee be a huge departure form Arsenal’s previous strategy, but they would also doubtless be forced to smash their wage structure to get Cavani.
Given that Cavani could also potentially have his pick of clubs, a move to Arsenal still appears something of a pipe dream for Arsenal at this stage.
Wenger has also discussed one of January’s most in-demand players, Wilfried Zaha. Some reports had claimed that Arsenal had ended their pursuit of the Crystal Palace winger due to Manchester United’s strong position in negotiations. According to Wenger, there interest in the 20-year-old remains.
“We are looking at him, but at the moment we have not made any bid for him,” he revealed. “I don't know if Manchester United are in for him. Anyway, if you call any club for any player, they will tell you Man United, Milan, Real Madrid are as well in for him, but it is always difficult to know if it is true or not."
As well as potential arrivals at the Emirates in January, another key issue for the club has been the future of Theo Walcott. Recent weeks are reported to have seen much progress being made on getting the England international to sign a new contract to keep him at Arsenal beyond the end of the season.
Wenger confirmed that a deal is now close.
"I was scared at some stage, yes, that he could leave because it is like that with the experience I have in negotiations," Wenger explained. "When things last too long, it is never a good sign. In this case, it took us some time to get where we want to get. It is still not finalized, but hopefully it will be done by this weekend. There is a possibility. My optimism is at 99 per cent now."
In other news, the Daily Mail has reported that Arsenal scouts were in attendance for Manchester United’s FA Cup third-round replay with West Ham on Wednesday night, with the focus of their attention on Hammers midfielder Mohamed Diame.
Arsenal have been strongly linked to the 25-year-old since it emerged that he has a £3.5 million release clause inserted in his contract when he arrived on a free transfer from Wigan last summer.