Arsenal are prepared to relax their strict wage structure this summer in order to attract the quality players that manager Arsene Wenger now considers necessary to allow the club to once again compete with England’s and Europe’s elite.
Arsenal have lost players like Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie in recent seasons, at least in part, because of an unwillingness to match the wages on offer at offer clubs. Currently Arsenal’s top earners are Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski on around £100,000 a week, but in order to attract the top echelon of players Arsenal are likely to have to be prepared to break the wage ceiling.
The Gunners believe that their recent enhanced commercial deals coupled with the arrival of Financial Fair Play will enable them to compete more readily in terms of both wages and transfer fees.
The Telegraph reports that two of the high-profile players Arsenal are keenly looking at are Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze and Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina. It is far from the first time that either individual has been linked with a move to the Emirates.
There was intense speculation that Arsenal were poised to move for highly-rated midfielder Gotze this time last year before he signed a new deal with Dortmund.
The German champions will be extremely reluctant to part with Gotze and it will likely take a bid far in excess of £20 million for Dortmund to even consider an approach. There must also be doubts about whether Gotze would want to leave a club which is viewed as an emerging force in Europe.
A potential deal for Jovetic is also likely to prove difficult to complete. Fiorentina have continually stressed their unwillingness to countenance the forward’s sale and reiterated their desire to hold onto the 23-year-old even after the recent capture of Italian forward Giuseppe Rossi.
Arsenal’s best hope of securing the Montenegrin could well be if they qualify for the Champions League and Fiorentina do not. The Viola currently lie five points away from a qualification spot in Serie A.
If Jovetic cannot be lured then Arsenal may instead turn to Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann. The Daily Star has reported that both the Gunners and local rivals Tottenham are monitoring the Austrian’s situation.
Weimann, 21, has struck 10 goals for Villa this season but has yet to agree an extension to his current contract, which has less than 18 months to run.
Villa currently lie in the Premier League relegation zone and there could well be a mass exodus if they go down. Arsenal have also been mentioned in connection with a move for Weimann’s strike partner Christian Benteke.
Arsenal are and Tottenham may also be set to battle it out for Montpellier attacking midfielder Younes Belhanda. Wenger was believed to have pursued the 23-year-old last summer, while Tottenham have also been mentioned as a suitor.
The Daily Express claims that both clubs also tried to sign Belhanda in January. And the talented Moroccan’s latest comments appear to open the door for a summer move.
"My dream is to play for a Champions League club,” he told Canal Plus.
"I am a born competitor and in countries like England, Spain and Italy, there are big clubs that I would like to play one day."