There continues to be much speculation concerning Arsenal’s striker targets this summer. Following an over-dependence on Olivier Giroud last season and the impending departure of Nicklas Bendtner at the expiration of his contract next month, a new frontman is set to be manager Arsene Wenger’s top priority in the transfer market this summer.
It could be some time before a major signing arrives at the Emirates Stadium, with Wenger having repeatedly insisted that the vast majority of the business for both Arsenal and every other club will be conducted after this summer’s World Cup. That situation suits one of the Gunners’ reported leading targets, Loic Remy.
The France international scored 14 Premier League goals on loan at Newcastle United from Queens Park Rangers last season. Despite QPR gaining promotion via last weekend’s Championship play-off final, manager Harry Redknapp revealed he does not expect Remy to return to Loftus Road and all-but confirmed the presence of a release clause of £8 million. It is an amount that will tempt many clubs. Newcastle are certainly one of them, but the former Marseille man appears to have his sights set on getting the attention of higher-ranking clubs at the World Cup.
“The World Cup is a shop window for me," he told L'Equipe, reports the Daily Mirror. “Newcastle want to buy me. I don't know if I am going to stay there. I am at a crossroads - in a key year. My career can catch alight or stagnate. Apart from the injuries this year, it has gone well. When I am on form, I think that I can do some damage.
“This World Cup is a great opportunity for me. Time is getting on. The next one, I don't know if I will be there. I will be 31 and at that age, you are closer to the end of your career and younger players are coming up behind you.”
Another of Arsenal’s reported forward targets has also been discussing his future in recent days. Carlos Vela has repeatedly been linked with a move back to Arsenal since leaving the club on a permanent basis to Real Sociedad two years ago. It has even been reported in recent weeks that Arsenal had agreed to activate a buy-back clause in Vela’s contract. According to Spanish sports daily AS, Sociedad are also negotiating to try and attain full ownership of the player, but Arsenal have rejected their offer of €6 million (£4.9m). And Vela admits that his future remains in the balance.
“The club is working on me staying here,” he told AS. I am working on it, too. But there is nothing concrete yet, nor is it something that is close to being done. There is still time for it to be done.
“I have no nothing to say about where I will be next season. I wanted to have a good end to the season. I wanted to have a few days to think about my future, what will be the best option and then decide. I have not yet decided anything nor said anything.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has made the bold claim that Mario Balotelli is set to return to the Premier League this summer, with Arsenal looking to hold talks over a possible deal. Liverpool are also said to be considering a move, should Luis Suarez depart. Although the Milan striker has undoubted talent, it would be out of character for Wenger to sign a player whose mentality remains a question mark.
Rather than forwards, it is midfielder Cesc Fabregas who Metro claims is Wenger’s leading target this summer. The former Arsenal captain has endured another difficult season at the Camp Nou, despite being more of an integral part of the team, and could well be put up for sale in the close season. Yet, with the presence of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil, it is difficult to see where the Spain international would fit.