Not only will the final eight games of the Premier League season decide whether Arsenal qualify for next season’s Champions League, but they will also go a long way to determining whether manager Arsene Wenger can attract the elite players required in the transfer market this summer.
It is widely believed that considerable money will be made available for Wenger in the next transfer window -- £70 million, according to the Sun -- with the Arsenal boss said to be trailing some of Europe’s leading talent.
The Daily Mirror is the latest publication to list Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic as the club’s primary target. The 23-year-old forward will prove challenging to pry away from the Serie A club with the incentive of Champions League qualification, without it Arsenal can likely forget about signing the Montenegrin this summer.
With Fiorentina now lying six points off the Champions League places in Serie A, Jovetic may be tempted by a move that gives him the opportunity to test himself against Europe’s best.
Another reported target who is likely to view Champions League participation as a prerequisite to his next move is Barcelona’s Victor Valdes. The 31-year-old goalkeeper has revealed that he will not be extending his contract at Camp Nou, which is set to expire in 2014.
The Sun, though, is among the sources to suggest that a parting of ways will be brought forward to this summer, potentially for a £10 million fee. Valdes’s comments suggest that a move abroad is a certainty.
“I want to try new cultures, new football, new challenges,” he said, according to the Sun.
“I’ve had great times here, I love it at Barcelona. I will always come back here, but I have this wonderful job which allows me to travel. And I want to travel.”
And the Spain international has also voiced his fondness for the English game.
“I like the Premier League, of course,” he added.
“I like the respect of the crowd towards footballers in England. It’s a different way of living football.”
Anderlecht central defender Cheikhou Kouyate has been even more explicit in his intentions, declaring that he will be leaving the Belgian club at the end of the season and stating his admiration for Arsenal.
The 23-year-old Senegal international has long been linked with the Gunners and he also revealed that the club has made its interest known.
"I like Arsenal because they play good football,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “There have been enquiries before, but nothing happened.
"I do not want to say where I am going, but this will be my last season with Anderlecht.
"Until I leave, I will continue to give 100 percent."
As well as strengthening the center of their defense, it seems almost certain that Wenger will look to sign a holding midfielder in the summer. A replacement was never signed following Alex Song’s departure and now Abou Diaby has suffered the latest in a long line of injuries that will rule him out for up to nine months.
The Daily Mirror is reporting that Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue is being chased by Arsenal. The France international was the subject of an offer from the Gunners in the January transfer window, according to the Daily Telegraph.