Arsenal have charted a rather slow plodding course in the first two weeks of the summer transfer session, but if recent reports are any indication, the Gunners and manager Arsene Wenger are about to shake things up at Emirates.
Finishing last season in third-place on the Premier League table while hoisting the FA Cup for the second straight year, Arsenal had very few glaring weak spots after the term wrapped up. Yet Wenger appears intent on bringing in a world-class striker to pair with Alexis Sanchez and to reinforce his backline.
On the attacking front, the Gunners received some serious words of encouragement from Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis, who according to The Express would like to sell off striker Gonzalo Higuain.
"Sell Higuain for €90 million (£64.7m)? I’d like to sell him," De Laurentiis said. "That way I can buy eight players for the club."
It’s an outrageous fee, and certainly much higher than the £43 million bid Arsenal reportedly placed on the 27-year-old Argentine last week. Yet the thought of pairing the superior attacking skills of Higuain with Sanchez, who led the EPL’s second-highest scoring attack last term, could be terrifying to the rest of the league.
Higuain’s also apparently unhappy with Napoli’s global standing, as the Serie A club failed to qualify for Champions League after coming in fifth last term. However, the letdown can’t be pinned on Higuain, who was fourth in the league with 18 goals. During his six-year run with Real Madrid, Higuain became accustomed to vying for the Europe’s most coveted trophy, and it appears he and Napoli feel the same way about parting ways.
Arsenal will have to carefully calculate any further bids for Higuain, with deep-pocketed Manchester United also targeting him and evidently prepared to spend gobs of cash on fees this summer.
Wenger also faces stiff competition for the signature of Internacional and Chilean midfielder Charles Aranguiz. Daily Mail reports, Arsenal join Chelsea, Manchester City, Ligue 1’s Marseille, and Bundesliga’s Bayer Leverkusen as contenders for the 26-year-old.
Internacional are waiting to hold talks until after their Copa Libertadores semifinal with Tigres, The Mail reported, which could give Arsenal enough time to put together a proper and fair bid.
Nevertheless, Aranguiz is coming off an excellent effort in the Copa America, recording two goals and an assist as Chile upset heavy favorites Argentina in the final.
And the Gunners could have an ace-in-the-hole with the Chilean Sanchez, who fulfilled his potential in his first year at Emirates and would be an excellent choice to recruit his compatriot.
As for the defense, Daily Mirror reports Arsenal are monitoring United's Jonny Evans. A 27-year-old center-back who’s struggled for pitch time under manager Louis van Gaal, The Mirror suggests the £10-million rated player could also struggle for appearances with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny firmly ensconced as Arsenal's central defenders. However, Evans could challenge Gabriel Paulista and or Calum Chambers for one of the flank positions.
It’s unclear if Evans even desires a transfer, having spent the entirety of his youth and senior career with United except for loan stints with Sunderland and Royal Antwerp.