Despite cries to the contrary, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is still likely to stalk the Emirates grounds this season and beyond even though his contract is up at the end of this term.
Ahead of Sunday’s matchup versus Hull City, Arsenal clings to a one-point lead over Everton for the final top four spot in the Premier League. And the Gunners will no doubt monitor the Toffees progress against Manchester United later in the day.
The Gunners have had their share of tribulations this season, but with four Premier League matches remaining, as well as the FA Cup final next month against Hull, Wenger has plenty of opportunities to keep his squad in contention for this season and beyond.
Wenger will no doubt need reinforcements should Champions League be in the cards next season, and reports indicate defense is his main concern with Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna’s contracts set to expire.
Wenger’s transfer quest could begin with Athletic Bilbao central defender Aymeric Laporte.
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The 19-year-old has helped the Basque club immensely along the backline this season, totaling 30 appearances for what is likely a UCL berth atop La Liga. According to Talk Sport, the French-born Laporte is under contract until 2018 and Bilbao are asking for roughly £30 million from the likes of the Gunners, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Another option is Eintracht Frankfurt defender Sebastian Jung. The 23-year-old’s agent reportedly said a £7 million summer move could be in the mix, according to Metro.
“In England we know Arsenal are very strongly on his trail for the summer,’ agent Mino Grillo said. “They have had scouts watching him in the Bundesliga. There is was interest in the past from Inter, Roma and Milan, but no recent contact.”
With several of Italy's top clubs allegedly now out of the way, Wenger now has room to sweep in on Jung.
A shock move could come in the form of Manchester United versatile back Chris Smalling, who has fallen to manager David Moyes bad side by staying out late during his injury stint and the difficult-to-forget incident of Smalling dressing as a suicide bomber at a costume party, according to Daily Star.
Wenger is reportedly considering a £13 million bid for Smalling, but with Moyes sour on the player a better price might be possible. Despite mental miscues away from the pitch, Smalling has the talent to play both right and center-back, giving Wenger two-positions in one player.
Smalling has made 72 total appearances since 2010 for United and with so many other defenders like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic expected to leave Old Trafford Moyes might put Smalling’s transgressions in the past.