It was a mixed weekend for Arsenal, having been given a real fright by Reading before securing a place in the FA Cup final but then seeing Chelsea beat Manchester United to realistically end the Gunners’ Premier League title hopes. Lifting the FA Cup for the second successive year at the end of May would mean Arsenal again ending their season on a high note, yet ruing that they have again failed to mount a serious challenge for either of the two main prizes -- the Premier League and the Champions League. And that could push manager Arsene Wenger to once more make a splash in the transfer market this summer.
Here’s the latest on four players linked with moves to Arsenal.
Paulo Dybala (Palermo)
Wenger has previously denied interest in the rising Palermo star, but his history of coyness when discussing transfer targets means it would be unwise to rule out an approach from Arsenal. Certainly speculation linking the quick, skillful striker with a move to the Emirates Stadium is continuing. Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has been doing nothing to quash rumors over his side’s leading light, and just last week stated that the 21-year-old would be sold by the end of April.
Zamparini, who has repeatedly stated that Dybala would not leave for less than €40 million (£28.9 million) has previously claimed that he has received an approach from Arsenal. But in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Dybala’s agent stated that there are now other serious suitors.
“Paris Saint-Germain have already come forward with an offer of about £32.4 million and Chelsea had already reached £28.8 million," Gustavo Mascardi said, reports the Daily Mirror. “We’re now at the stage where the price cannot be lower than €50m (£36 million). Paulo is in no hurry and will take his decision calmly.”
The combination of that competition for his signature and his price tag means that Arsenal, should their interest be genuine, would face a difficult task to complete a capture for the Argentinean.
Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)
PSV Eindhoven have only just sealed the Eredivisie title but already the club is facing the prospect of losing two of their key players. As with Memphis Depay, Wijnaldum has been linked with a transfer to join their former Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal at Manchester United. According to Sky Sports, though, Arsenal are also a potential destination for the midfielder. In an interview with the British media outlet in recent days, Wijnaldum confirmed he was looking to move to a higher standard of competition.
“I am happy at PSV but I am a player with a lot of ambition,” he said. “I want to play in a stronger league than the Eredivisie. With my quality I feel I can bring a lot to a team that I will join. I want to show it in the big leagues; England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France. It depends on how I feel. When I feel I want to go, I will do it. It is difficult to say when I want to go, if a great club comes in for me then I will think about it.”
James Milner (Manchester City)
It appears ever more likely that Milner will walk away from Manchester City this summer when his current contract is set to expire. The 29-year-old is believed to have grown frustrated with failing to hold down a regular place in the starting lineup at the Etihad Stadium. Arsenal have been linked with the industrious and versatile midfielder since last summer and in recent days the London Evening Standard has reported that the Gunners would be his preferred choice if he doesn’t sign a fresh contract with City. While his quality is often underrated due to his high work rate, it is difficult to see where Milner would fit at Arsenal, given their already large numbers of forward-thinking midfielders.
Isco (Real Madrid)
Similar doubts should be present about Arsenal’s suggested interest in a transfer for Real Madrid’s Isco. The attacking midfielder has been superb for Real Madrid this season, yet found himself relegated to the bench once manager Carlo Ancelotti had his full complement of attacking players available to him again. The Daily Mirror has reported that Madrid will consider offers for the 22-year-old of around £35 million should they secure the signing of either Juventus’ Paul Pogba or Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti this summer. Given the presence of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, however, it would be a major surprise was Wenger to opt to spend such a large fee on Isco.