The agent of Benfica defender Lorenzo Melgarejo has claimed that Arsenal are one of the clubs to have inquired about signing the player. The Paraguay international is believed to be one of the players that Arsene Wenger is looking at as he looks to strengthen his side with serious investment in the transfer market this summer.
Melgarejo, 22, has just completed his first season in the Benfica side having spent the previous campaign on loan at fellow-Portuguese side Pacos Ferreira. And that stay may be short lived, if the left-back’s agent is to be believed. "Arsenal and Fenerbahce have enquired about Melgarejo,” Juan Gabriel Appleyard told Radio Monumental. “But so far there has been nothing concrete.”
Sky Sports believes that the player could be available for £5 million, but it would be a curious signing for the Gunners. Wenger bought Spain international left-back Nacho Monreal in January and with the former Malaga man battling with Kieran Gibbs for that slot in the defense, it is difficult to see where Malgarejo would fit. He is, though, also capable of playing in a more advanced role down the left.
Yet, it is believed that increasing his quality up front remains a priority for Wenger in the transfer window. With Gonzalo Higuain appearing to be closer to a move to Juventus, fellow target Stevan Jovetic is now reported to be on the verge of joining Chelsea. The Fiorentina forward has been strongly linked with the Gunners and Juventus for several weeks but new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho looks to have made signing the Montenegrin a priority. According to the Guardian, that mission is set to be a success with Jovetic on the verge of a £25 million move to Stamford Bridge.
With that in mind, the Arsenal boss may be tempted to turn his attention toward Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy. The 20-year-old Italy international had a breakthrough campaign last season with 16 Serie A goals to lead to speculation of interest from Arsenal and Manchester City, among others. In December last year Wenger admitted to being an admirer of the versatile forward.
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El Shaarawy’s production dropped off considerably in the second half of the season, though, with the arrival of Mario Balotelli. And now Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has revealed that the starlet could be available for the right price.
“The player who has attracted most interest is El Shaarawy,” he said, according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport. “We never said that he is not for sale in this window, anything can happen.” Reports in Italy suggest that Napoli are most advanced in their pursuit of the player.
Arsenal are also being linked with two Germany international midfielders as Wenger seeks to improve the quality at his disposal in that crucial area of the pitch. The Daily Mail believes that Wenger has his eye on Ilkay Gundogan and Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender.
Gundogan, who started in the Champions League final alongside Lars Bender’s brother Sven, was one of Borussia Dortmund’s most impressive performers last season as he set the tone from his pivotal midfield role. His industry and quality on the ball mean it is hard to envisage Dortmund being prepared to part with the 22-year-old, particularly having already lost Mario Gotze and with Robert Lewandowski likely to follow. Indeed, the Mail’s £20 million valuation is likely to fall well short of an offer that would even tempt Dortmund into a deal.
Arsenal may have more luck with an offer for the £17 million valued Bender. The 24-year-old defensive midfielder, who has also been linked with Manchester United in the past, recently showed that he can also prosper going forward when he scored twice for Germany in a friendly against Ecuador.