Arsenal’s made more headlines for player exits rather than welcomes in the summer transfer session thus far, but manager Arsene Wenger continues to scour the globe for more top-flight attackers and he could allow one of his keepers to leave Emirates.
The only signature Wenger’s managed to secure is that of former Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, a world-class goalie with the necessary experience to help the Gunners during both Premier League and Champions League play next term.
But one of Arsenal and Wenger’s main goals when the summer began was to find the appropriate attacking talent to pair with leading scorer and talisman Alexis Sanchez, a goal that’s largely fallen flat and is in danger of doing so once again. The Gunners have reportedly set their sights on Schalke winger Julian Draxler, but reigning Serie A champions Juventus are now the favorite to land the 21-year-old German international with Arsenal’s chances dwindling.
Express reports Schalke have given Juventus permission to work out “personal terms” with Draxler, and the Italian side have already made a £14-million bid with the inclusion of performance-related bonuses. There could be a glimmer of hope for Arsenal to swoop in, but it will be costly. Express indicates that Schalke may up their asking price to £21 million for Draxler, who’s also seeking a new contract worth £3.5 million per season.
After recovering from the sticker shock, Arsenal may opt to meet Schalke’s demands for several reasons. For one, outside of Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, the Gunners may be lacking serious scoring threats and will especially require reinforcements and more options for Champions League and FA Cup duties. Furthermore, while Draxler’s netted only 17 goals over the last four years, he’s barely reached his potential and Wenger could show him how to tap into it. Draxler has reportedly been on Arsenal's radar since 2013.
A cheaper, and maybe even better option, might lie in Barcelona midfielder Sergi Samper. Daily Mail reports Wenger is considering the 20-year-old’s £8.5 million buyout clause and the Catalans are willing to let the budding Spanish go with Sergio Busquets’ place well secured.
Wenger actually pursued Samper back in 2011, but nothing ever came to fruition. Now with Samper seemingly growing frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities, Wenger could land a special player with exceptional dribbling and possession abilities. Samper might not immediately light up Premier League, but he could provide Sanchez the opportunity to work away from the ball and stretch defenses for more opportunities at the net.
Lastly, Wojciech Szczesny's much-speculated exit from the Emirates may be on the horizon. The 25-year-old Pole, who lost his starting role to David Ospina and now must also contend with Cech, has captured the interest of Roma, according to TalkSport.
The report states Arsenal and the Italian side have held talks over Szczesny, and the option of a one-year loan leading to a permanent transfer was discussed.
Szczesny totaled 45 saves over 17 starts last season, but also conceded 21 goals and at times was at fault for key losses. He also caused a stir when he was reprimanded for smoking in the showers. Though Wenger expressed hope that Szczesny and Ospina would battle for the No. 2 position during training, he appears to be the odd man out in the crowded unit.