Arsène Wenger may continue to play down the need to add further players to his squad, but speculation is heating up that a striker will arrive before the close of the transfer window. Rumors of a move for a new front man have only increased since Arsenal’s bubble of preseason optimism was burst by an opening 2-0 home defeat to West Ham. With only Petr Cech having arrived so far this summer, it raised more questions about whether Arsenal’s squad required further freshening up. The Gunners boss, though, was adamant that the lack of new arrivals was not to blame.
“I would like that we are responsible to buy the players and the coaches, and not the media,” he said in his post-match press conference. “When you’re a professional football player, you have to face your responsibilities and not always look at something else. Today we have to look at ourselves and think we were not good enough and not to think that these kinds of things are solutions for us. We were not good enough, we were not convincing.
“Again, I can only repeat what I already said. If an exceptional solution turns up, we’ll do it. But after a defeat like that, it’s important not to always think we take a solution from outside.”
If Wenger does decide to act, it is widely thought he will do so in order to bring in a striker. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has been linked strongly for several weeks, with reports in recent days even suggesting that the Arsenal were prepared to break their transfer record of £42.5 million to land the France international.
The chances of a deal have always looked slimmer than much of the rumors have suggested, however. Not only would Real Madrid surely have to be confident of getting in a striker of at least equal quality to the 27-year-old, but Benzema is also a favorite of club president Florentino Perez. And the Daily Mirror reports that there is no deal in sight between Arsenal and Benzema, with the Gunners said to have already had an approach for the player rejected.
But Wenger’s words have not stopped rumors of interest in other high-profile strikers across Europe. Edinson Cavani’s name has been regularly mentioned in connection with a move to the Emirates in the past 18 months or so, amid suggestions that he was keen to depart Paris Saint-Germain. Yet, with fellow PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic now 33 and the subject of speculation over his own future, Cavani looks set to stay in the France capital. And, although tabloids in Britain have relayed a story about Arsenal being ready to bid for the Uruguay international, the original source is Spanish website Fichajes.net, which has a less than rock solid reputation on transfer stories.
The same website is also the source for fresh rumors doing the rounds about Arsenal being interested in long-term target Gonzalo Higuain. And Metro has built on the claim that the Argentina international has made it clear he wants a move away from Napoli this summer, by reporting that it gives Arsenal the “all clear” to make an approach. Arsenal were close to signing Higuaín before he joined Napoli from Real Madrid two years ago, however the Italian club’s president Aurelio de Laurentiis has repeatedly stated this summer that he will not be able to leave unless his prohibitive 94.7 million euros (£67.2 million) buyout clause is met.
There looks to be similarly distant prospect of Arsenal landing a new reported target -- Real Madrid’s Denis Cheryshev. Despite primarily playing out wide rather than through the middle, the Daily Express is among the publications to speculate that Arsenal could be keen on a transfer for the 24-year-old who scored seven times and contributed 10 assists while on loan at Villarreal last season. Cheryshev’s future at the Bernabeu has been called into question, but Madrid-based sports daily Marca has reported that manager Rafa Benitez has informed the Russia international that he wants him as part of the first-team squad this season.