Arsenal have completed their first signing of the summer and are pushing hard to quickly follow it up with further reinforcements. There was little surprise when the Gunners announced the long-mooted arrival of 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre. There will be little fanfare too perhaps for the signature of another young French player for little, or, in this case, no, money, but Sanogo has the attributes required to succeed at the top level. Having scored 11 goals in 24 appearances for Auxerre, he is currently spearheading the France attack at the Under-20 World Cup.
Arsenal could be frustrated, though, in their attempts to pry Lars Bender away from Bayer Leverkusen. Widespread reports state that the Gunners have had a bid of €23 million (£19.7m) rejected for the Germany international. Leverkusen, which will be in the Champions League next season, have also insisted that they have no intention of allowing the 24-year-old to leave the club this summer. Manager Arsene Wenger is on the lookout for a defensive midfielder in the transfer window and may now be forced to turn his attentions back to Marouane Fellaini. However, Everton’s refusal to allow the Belgian to leave for less than the £23 million clause that enables him to join a Champions League club, combined with the player’s perceived high wage demands, could sink any deal.
Arsenal are still very much pushing ahead with an agreement for Gonzalo Higuain and hope to finalize his signing in the coming days. Yet, there has previously been much talk that it was Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic who was Wenger’s main forward target. IBTimes understands that the Montenegrin will know the destination of his next club within the next week, with Juventus and Chelsea also credited with an interest. Jovetic has permission to leave Fiorentina this summer if they receive a bid of €30 million (£25.7m).
Also on the agenda for Wenger is signing an experienced goalkeeper to at least provide competition for Wojciech Szczesny. The man looking likeliest to fulfill that requirement right now is Julio Cesar. Queens Park Rangers have confirmed that the 33-year-old will be leaving the club following their relegation from the Premier League. And Julio Cesar has now hinted that he’d like to remain in London.
“I love the city and I’m enjoying living there,” he said, according to the Sun. “Now I have to do things right at my club so I can be considered for the World Cup.”
That last comment suggests, as would be expected, that a key factor in the former Inter Milan keeper’s decision will be a guarantee of consistent first-team action in order that he retain his place in the Brazil team ahead of the World Cup in his home country. That may be an assurance easier to get from another reported suitor, Roma, rather than Arsenal.
A few weeks ago it appeared that Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier was on his way to the Emirates when Wenger revealed his admiration for a player, who also suggested that he was set to leave the Ligue 1 club. However, Lyon have dug their heels in and now believe that the France international midfielder will sign a new contract. "Grenier will be here next year, we're looking at a one-year extension, perhaps more," president Jean-Michel Aulas said, according to Sky Sports.