Swansea City are reportedly refusing to lower their £10 million asking price for captain Ashley Williams, despite the central defender making it known that he desires a move to Arsenal. And the potential breakdown could have ramifications for the future of Thomas Vermaelen, according to the Times.
Arsene Wenger is keen to strengthen his defense this summer after a series of costly lapses last season. A poor performance against Tottenham in March cost Vermaelen his place in the side for the remainder of the campaign as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny forged an impressive partnership in the closing weeks.
With Wenger pursuing Williams, club captain Vermaelen’s future has been in some doubt despite his insistences that he wants to stay at the club he joined from Ajax in 2009. Earlier in the week the Daily Telegraph reported that Williams had told Swansea they he was keen for a move, with the Emirates his preferred destination. Yet, unless the Capital One Cup winners lower their valuation for a player who will turn 29 in August, both he and Vermaelen look set to be turning out for their current clubs next season.
As well as being more secure at the back, Wenger is also trying to make his side more lethal in the attack in the coming campaign. A move for Gonzalo Higuain is ongoing, while the Gunners have also been heavily linked with Fiorentina’s Steven Jovetic. With Higuain being more of a traditional striker and Jovetic an all-round technically gifted forward, it is conceivable that Arsenal, with their increased transfer kitty, could go for both. However, Fiorentina’s €30 million (£25.7m) asking price for Jovetic perhaps makes that unlikely.
Indeed, the chances of Arsenal landing the Montenegrin could be further diminished with the Daily Star reporting that Real Madrid are keenly pursuing the 23-year-old. Jovetic is thought to have joined the list of strikers on Carlo Ancelotti’s wanted list as the Spanish giants seek a replacement for the soon-to-depart Higuain. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani appear to be the Spanish giant’s leading targets, however. Despite recent speculation, Milan does not appear to be a viable destination for Jovetic, with both the Rossoneri and Fiorentina pouring cold water on a swap involving Stephan El Shaarawy, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
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There remains the possibility that Wenger will bring in a more experienced goalkeeper to either replace or provide an alternative to Wojciech Szczesny. Like Vemaelen, the young Pole found himself out of the Arsenal team in the crucial climax to the season after a drop in his level of performance. The 23-year-old still does have plenty of potential to be a top goalkeeper and it would be a gamble to write him off at this stage.
Yet, according to the Daily Mail, the club is keenly interested in Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina. It is far from the first time that the Spain international has been linked with the Gunners, with Liverpool having rejected a bid back in 2010.The Mail now believes that the 30-year-old could be available for £10 million.
It would no surprise at all were Reina to depart Anfield this summer. Liverpool have just signed Belgium international Simon Mignolet for £9 million and, with both he and Reina aiming to be at the World Cup next year, neither is likely to be prepared to sit on the bench.