After a very inactive January transfer period, Arsenal already appear to have a focus on the summer period, as the club attempts to add reinforcements and move players that have probably over-stayed their welcome.
The Sun reported that Arsenal have renewed their interest in Lille's Eden Hazard. The 21-year-old Belgian starlet was on Arsene Wenger's radar in August, but the club decided to back away from negotiations as the asking price exceeded £25 million.
While Wenger prefers adding players who are in their early 20s, Hazard's valuation is probably out of Arsenal's price range, making a potential deal with the Gunners appear unlikely. While on the topic of Hazard, Wenger discussed clubs showing a profit of £15 - £20 million and managers shopping for the right deals, but still praised the playmaker.
I really like [Hazard] and, for several reasons: it's his creative power, his ability to mis-align the opponent, his vision of the game and his consummate skill to address the last pass which make him a very interesting player, said Wenger.
Hazard has what it takes to play for a top-level club, and Arsenal are a top-level club.
If Hazard's price tag is too high this summer, Wenger might also consider a more serious play at less expensive midfielder Mario Gotze, who had been linked to the Gunners for more than six months, and is slightly younger and plays with roughly the same style as Hazard.
Chelsea have also been linked to Hazard, but it seems a bit of a reach for the Blues to heavily pursue the playmaker. Chelsea had the option of adding Hazard in the off-season, but showed more interest in eventual-signing Juan Mata. It would be somewhat questionable for Chelsea to target Hazard when Mata owns a similar skill set, and as the club may have more pressing needs.
It will be interesting to see what other clubs go after Hazard this summer. He had been linked to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City in recent months.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will be joined by local rival Tottenham for the services of Jamaal Lascelles, according to Daily Mail. The 18-year-old centre back is one of the more promising England youth players, but only received his first appearance for Nottingham Forest on Jan. 31.
Should Arsenal actively pursue Lascelles, the club would likely loan out the inexperienced teenager since the Gunners are rather loaded at centre back, but slightly thin at full back. In Jan. 2011, Nottingham Forest rejected a £5 million offer from Arsenal for Lascelles.
The most curious situation for the Gunners is Andrei Arshavin. The 30-year-old winger has been a disappointment this season, and wasn't particularly effective in the 2010-2011 season either, yet has still garnered interest from several suitors over the past seven months.
Barcelona, Anzhi Makhachkala, Lazio, Chelsea, and Galatasary have been linked to Arshavin. The club that seems most logical is Anzhi, since the Russian transfer window will remain open until Feb. 24, and since the cash-rich club would want to add a native to their club.
However, Arshavin informed Anzhi officials that he does not want to leave Arsenal this season, according to ESPN. With 18 months remaining on his contract, the chances of Arshavin sticking around Emirates remains slim, and Wenger might consider moving him sooner rather than later to avoid an awkward situation.