It has already been a positive summer for Arsenal in the transfer market, with key target Petr Cech arriving from Chelsea to give the club a top-class goalkeeper with huge Premier League experience. More signings are expected, although there is plenty of speculation as to who is being targeted to aid the Gunners’ attempts to win a first Premier League title in 12 years.
A midfielder has long been thought to be on the agenda, with Arturo Vidal strongly linked with a transfer to north London. That interest would appear to have quietened of late and there was much talk in recent days that the all-action Juventus star was closing in on a move to Real Madrid. Yet Juventus chief executive Beppe Marotta has dismissed those claims.
“Vidal? It's just rumors, Real Madrid have not come forward,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror. “We have a great relationship with them.”
It would seem unlikely that Juventus would be willing to lose the Chile international, given they have just allowed Andrea Pirlo to go to New York City FC, while there continues to be speculation over the future of Paul Pogba. And there must also be doubts about whether Arsenal would be willing to put together a financial package sufficient to convince Juventus to sell and Vidal to move to the Emirates.
Arsenal’s list of midfield targets was widely believed to have at one stage included Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. The Germany international had stated at the start of the summer that he would not be extending a contract that had just a year left to run, but that decision was reversed when last week he committed himself to the Bundesliga club for a further year. Yet that fact hasn’t stopped some reports seizing on quotes from Gundogan about having “Wanted a new challenge” as reason for optimism for Arsenal.
However, the 24-year-old has stated that he will be remaining at Dortmund for the coming season, although he did leave the door open for interest next summer.
“The solution we found now provides security for all parties,” he told German magazine Kicker, per ESPN. “I can concentrate totally on football; the club know they will earn a reasonable fee if I make a move in 2016. That was important to me.”
Arsenal have also been surprisingly linked with another Germany international, in Mario Götze. The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final is floated as being a target for Arsenal, as well as Manchester United, by the Daily Star. The Tabloid’s assertion is based on comments from the 23-year-old’s agent stating that the player has lacked support at Bayern Munich. Götze has certainly struggled to make a real impression since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund two years ago -- before which he was linked strongly with Arsenal. However, the Gunners would be hugely surprising suitors given Arsene Wenger’s wealth of options in the attacking midfield positions -- including Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
That strength in depth would also likely preclude a move for Barcelona’s Pedro. The winger’s future is uncertain following a frustrating season watching on as Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar grabbed the headlines, as well as the recent signing of Arda Turan. And, citing stories in Spain, The Independent has reported that Arsenal have contacted Barcelona about the Spanish World Cup winner. He may well be on the market, but he wouldn’t appear to fill any of the priorities Wenger has for strengthening his squad ahead of what promises to be a crucial season for the Gunners.