Arsenal remain quiet in the summer transfer window, but speculation continues over a move for one of their leading rivals’ longest-serving players. After winning a second successive FA Cup and finishing third in the Premier League, manager Arsène Wenger suggested that there was no need for major restructuring of his squad.
But one player he does appear to be keen on bringing to the Emirates Stadium is Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. After 10 years as the club’s number one, the 33-year-old was displaced by Thibaut Courtois last season. And reports in recent days have stated that Cech has informed Chelsea of his wish to leave, but also of his desire to remain in London and join Arsenal. Yet, while Chelsea are seemingly resigned to losing the player for a fee of £11 million, manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he does not want to strengthen a rival.
Indeed it appears Mourinho’s determination not to see Cech go to Arsenal has seen him ask for Gunners midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in exchange, according to the Daily Mirror. Oxlade-Chamberlain had an injury-disrupted season last term, but it is believed he remains a firm part of Wenger’s plans and that Arsenal will reject any attempt to lure him away.
Cech would seem to be the ideal candidate to give Arsenal the reliable top-level goalkeeper they have struggled to find for several seasons. But he is not the only stopper being linked with a transfer to the Emirates. Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas was on Arsenal’s agenda last summer and, according to Spanish publication AS, he could well remain of keen interest to Wenger. The sports daily also suggests that Casillas, whose future has been called into serious question by Real Madrid’s pursuit of Manchester United’s David de Gea.
While the 34-year-old is also thought to be interesting Turkish side Fenerbahce and Italian giants Roma, Arsenal appear best equipped to offer the kind of salary and prestige that the World Cup winner would be after. Whether Arsenal would be willing to put together a massive financial package for a player who has appeared in decline for the past two years, however, remains doubtful.
As things stand, Arsenal will also surely fall short of the finances required to bring Gonzalo Higuaín to the club. The Argentina striker was close to joining the Gunners two years ago before it was Napoli who offered the money to secure his signing from Real Madrid. Higuaín scored 18 goals in Serie A last season but Napoli’s failure to qualify for the Champions League has raised doubts about his future. And, with Arsenal potentially looking for a world class striker, his name has again been mentioned as a possible target for Wenger. However, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has insisted the 27-year-old will only be leaving if a club matches his massive £72 million buyout clause.
“Higuaín's future? If a player has a contract this contract must be respected,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “If a crazy person comes and offers to pay his buyout clause then one must consider it. Otherwise Pipita [Higuaín] will remain here.”