Arsenal appear to have put all their eggs in one controversial Uruguayan basket. Securing a striker of the highest quality has been a priority for Arsene Wenger throughout the transfer window but, with just one month before it slams shut it, is increasingly becoming a case of Luis Suarez or nothing. The Gunners’ determination to finally spend the money required to compete at the top has been there for all to see in bidding £40 million plus, of course, the now infamous £1. But, with Liverpool refusing to relent in their insistence that the Uruguay international will not be leaving, Arsenal now face an anxious wait for a resolution to a saga that looks set to go right to the wire.
In honing in on Suarez, Arsenal have now let alternatives go by the wayside. Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic were both targeted before they eventually moved elsewhere, while rumored targets Christian Benteke and Robert Lewandowski both look ensconced in their current surroundings for the time being. That’s not to mention other significant strikers like Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado who have also been snapped up elsewhere. Arsenal are fast running out of other options should a deal for Suarez not come to fruition. Here are four players that Wenger might still be considering.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
It is likely that Wenger still has one eye fixed on Rooney’s still uncertain situation at Old Trafford. The Arsenal boss has admitted he would be interested, while chief executive Ivan Gazidis has insisted that the club could afford the England international’s massive wages. So far Arsenal have been happy to remain in the background with Chelsea having had a bid of around £20 million rejected. Should there be any indication that Manchester United are willing to negotiate then Arsenal would surely make a firm move. But, with Rooney believed to be keen to work with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Arsenal may struggle to persuade the 27-year-old that his future would be better served at the Emirates.
Jackson Martinez (Porto)
Linked with a move to the Premier League last summer, the Colombia international was in the end snapped up by Porto. And the Portuguese side proved to have done yet another smart piece of business with Jackson Martinez going on to finish the campaign as the top scorer in the Portuguese Liga with 26 goals. Previously at Mexican side Chiapas, the 26-year-old has shown an instinctive eye for goal, no better illustrated than by his outstanding backheel goal against Sporting Lisbon. While Porto are known for their superb scouting, they are equally renowned for getting sky-high fees for their players. And that will prove no different with Jackson Martinez with suitors Napoli being asked to pay his €40 million (£34.9m) buyout clause. Despite his qualities, Arsenal would be unwise to pay that fee and it is hard to see them doing so.
Leandro Damiao (Internacional)
Could the perennial Tottenham target eventually wind up across North London instead? In truth, it is highly unlikely. Internacional have consistently priced the Brazil international out of a move and Wenger is known for his refusal to pay more than what he considers to be a player’s true value. Arsenal have been linked in the past, though, and his is likely a name that will at least be considered. Still, it would be a strange time to spend big on the 24-year-old. The top scorer in last year’s Olympics has stagnated of late and was denied his chance to make his mark on a big stage when injury ruled him out of the Confederations Cup.
Pablo Osvaldo (Roma)
The Argentina-born Italy striker looks likely to leave Rome this summer after a string of disciplinary issues both on and off the pitch. His latest outburst after Roma lost the Coppa Italia final to bitter rivals Lazio cost him a place in Italy’s squad for the Confederations Cup. Those problems have overshadowed what he has done on the pitch, including notching up 16 goals Serie A goals last season to finish as the league’s third highest scorer. It has been suggested that Arsenal could use Roma’s interest in Gervinho to secure Osvaldo. However, with the former Espanyol man now aged 27 and not at the very top level of strikers, Wenger is unlikely to overlook his issues the way he is seemingly willing to do with Suarez.