Arsenal have failed to make a big splash in the summer transfer window by landing a top striker, but the situation could change if the Gunners increase their bids to bolster a unit that might be ready to contend for a Premier League title. World-class attacking talent like Julian Draxler, Edin Dzeko, Arturo Vidal, and Gonzalo Higuain have all been linked to Arsenal this summer, but no deal has come to fruition. It's a sharp contrast to the action taken by Manchester United, as Louis van Gaal has added midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, and young forward Memphis Depay, among others.
Now it appears Wenger’s willing to open up the coffers with the start of the Premier League term less than two weeks away, and with the Community Shield match with Chelsea set for Aug. 2.
According to Daily Telegraph, the Gunners are prepared to up their initial bid of £31 million to £35 million for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. Looking to capitalize on the 27-year-old Frenchman’s unease at the Bernabeu, Wenger’s summer would be considered a big success even though Benzema would be only the second signing after goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Benzema’s a prolific scorer capable of both leading the attack and working in tandem with a superstar, as evidenced by his work beside Cristiano Ronaldo the last six years. Largely playing the role of second-striker, Benzema’s tallied 124 goals across all competitions since he arrived at Madrid in 2009 and Wenger’s likely salivating on what he could do with the help of Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez, and former teammate Mesut Ozil. He could also provide helpful competition for fellow France national team striker Olivier Giroud.
The Gunners are also upping their bid for Juventus striker Fernando Llorente. Over the weekend, Arsenal were initially reported to offer the Serie A champions £8 million for the 30-year-old talisman, but Tuttosport indicates that bid has reached as high as £8.5 million.
Though the deal would make far less of a splash compared to Benzema, Llorente can certainly spruce up the Gunners attack. His heyday was with Athletic Bilbao, where he totaled 118 goals across in all competitions for nine years, but the 30-year-old’s proved invaluable to Juventus’ domestic and international success the last two seasons.
The increased bid has also helped Arsenal move ahead of Manchester United and Real Madrid, a sign Wenger’s aware he’ll need to spend big in order to fill out his lineup properly. Madrid is evidently Llorente’s first choice, but Arsenal offers him far more playing time and stability.
And Wenger might not be done dealing with Juventus. TalkSport reports Arsenal joins Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the race for attacking midfielder Kingsley Coman, a highly touted 19-year-old French starlet who has reportedly become frustrated by his lack of appearances in Turin.
After rising up Paris Saint-Germain’s youth ranks, Coman eventually moved up to the first team in 2013. Juventus acquired him a year later on a five-year contract. However, he’s made just 14 appearances and netted one goal last season.