Arsenal continued to suggest they will end the season on a real high as they brushed Liverpool aside 4-1 on Saturday to all-but confirm a place in the Champions League for an 18th successive year. The victory was Arsenal’s seventh consecutive in the Premier League, and, with an FA Cup semifinal also upcoming, there is much to promote optimism around the Emirates Stadium. The quality of their performance on Saturday also prompted Arsène Wenger to suggest that one of the players rumored to be high on Arsenal’s list of transfer targets wasn’t needed.
The buildup to the high-profile clash had been dominated by talk of Raheem Sterling’s contract wrangle at Liverpool, and of Arsenal being one of the clubs ready to pounce. Yet it always appeared a far-fetched suggestion. Sterling, 20, is thought to be after around £180,000 a week in wages and, if they were to part with him, Liverpool would likely be after a transfer fee of upwards of £40 million for a player who still has more than two years remaining on his contract. Wenger has never shown any inclination to part with that sort of money for a player who is still more potential than anything else. And, following the game, he stated that he already possessed plenty of quality in attacking positions.
“We have been linked by the media, but at the moment we are not in a transfer period at all. We have plenty of offensive players, if you look at what we had on the bench today, we had [Theo] Walcott, [Tomas] Rosicky, [Danny] Welbeck who did not start the game.”
Ahead of the game, Wenger was even more vociferous in his denial of another major transfer rumor surrounding the Gunners. Arsenal have been regularly cited as one of the leading candidates to land highly rated Palermo striker Paulo Dybala this summer. Indeed, only last week, Palermo’s owner Maurizio Zamparini stated that Arsenal had already made an approach for the 21-year-old. Wenger, though, disputed that claim.
“Ask him to show you the offer,” Wenger said in response to a question in his press conference. “Not at all [is there any interest].”
One player Wenger has previously revealed his interest in is Yohan Cabaye. The French midfielder was close to joining Arsenal at the start of last season before Newcastle United dug their heels in and sold him for a significantly higher price to Paris Saint-Germain last January. His first-team opportunities have been limited this season, however, making just 10 starts in Ligue 1. According to the Daily Mirror, the 29-year-old is eager to play regularly ahead of Euro 2016, and Arsenal are keeping a close eye on the situation with a view to a £10 million bid this summer. Given Arsenal’s already sizable collection of forward-thinking midfielders, a move for Cabaye would, though, be a surprise.
It appears talks are at a more advanced stage to bring a rising Argentinian star, dubbed the “new Messi” to the Emirates. Maximiliano Romero has only just turned 16 and has yet to make his first-team debut for club Vélez Sarsfield. Yet Arsenal’s scouts have apparently seen enough of the young striker in youth games to make an offer of 6 million euros (£4.4 million), reports Spanish publication Marca, based on stories coming out of Argentina. Romero is set to remain with Vélez for two more years, but the player’s agent has stated a deal is almost done.
“Maxi has huge potential,” Rolando Zárate told TyC Sports. “I went to London to talk about Arsenal's offer, and then took it back to Raúl Gámez [Vélez's president]. “Arsenal agreed to our main terms: that the player remains at Vélez for two more years. Maxi is going to complete his apprenticeship at a great club like Vélez. I met with Arsène Wenger twice in London. I negotiated with him and then with his assistants. They heard about Maxi Romero through their scouts in America. He was the player who most impressed them.”