Arsenal are enjoying a fine run of form that has seen them move to the top of the Premier League and make a strong start to their Champions League campaign. Still, there continues to be much speculation about how Arsene Wenger could strengthen his squad going forward.
The benefits of a digging deep to sign an elite player have been seen with Mesut Ozil already making a big contribution since his arrival from Real Madrid. On Sunday Ozil had a hand in all three goals as Arsenal beat Stoke City 3-1. And rumors continue that Wenger could add to the already significant German contingent at the Emirates.
There has long been talk of Arsenal’s interest in Schalke youngster Julian Draxler. It is believed that the recently turned 20-year-old was on the club’s radar this summer, while he has been linked to many of Europe’s big clubs. Indeed, The Sun now claims that Arsenal will have to battle it out with Juventus for Draxler’s prized signature.
Draxler has so far stated his happiness to remain at Schalke, while the club will doubtless require a huge fee if and when he does leave. Italian source TuttoMercato believes that the figure could be as high as an extraordinary €70 million (£59m); a fee that it is difficult to imagine any club paying such a fee.
It also seems unlikely that Arsenal will still have such a keen interest in the player. Having signed Ozil, the Gunners are well-stocked for attacking midfielders, even if, as claimed by TuttoMercato, Lukas Podolski departs at the end of the season. Draxler’s arrival would necessitate one of Ozil, Santi Cazorla or Theo Walcott being sidelined from the first-choice lineup.
The same would be true if Arsenal were to bring in another reported German target, Marco Reus. The 24-year-old, capable of playing anywhere in a line of three behind a main striker, has excelled at the start of his second season with Borussia Dortmund. The Daily Express reports that Arsenal are monitoring the former Borussia Monchengladbach man, who is said to have a release clause of around £34 million.
While it seems doubtful that Arsenal will pay massive fees on players that do not currently appear necessary, the club’s latest financial figures suggest that there is money for Wenger to add to his squad. In results for the year ending May 31, 2013, Arsenal’s cash reserves still stood at an impressive £119.7 million. And in his statement, chairman Sir Chips Keswick stated that Wenger will have the club’s full backing when he decides to reenter the transfer market.
“With the Özil transfer I believe we have made a significant statement and when Arsene decides the time is right to invest again, [majority shareholder] Stan Kroenke, myself and the rest of the Board will be delighted to support him,” he wrote.
One area that Wenger may soon be looking to strengthen is in the center of defense. Website Inside Futebol believes that Arsenal, along with Juventus, are interested in Basel center-back Fabian Schar. The 21-year-old was only plucked from Swiss second-tier club FC Wil last summer, but has since gone onto play a part in Basel reaching the semifinals of the Europa League last season as well as becoming a Switzerland international.
Perhaps Arsenal’s greatest deficiency right now, though, is up front. There is much reliance on Olivier Giroud, with youngster Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner, who hasn’t played for the club in two years, providing the only realistic alternatives. While there was talk that Arsenal could bring in unattached former Schalke striker Ciprian Marica, it is believed that interest has now waned. And the Sunday People now claims that the Gunners’ local rivals Tottenham will sign the experienced Romania international.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.