Arsenal continue to be linked with players to strengthen their attacking options with an outlandish move for unsettled Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney even being mooted by some.
It is widely believed that Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic remains the club’s leading target, but, with strong competition for his signature set to come from Juventus and the possibility that the Montenegrin could stay put if the Viola qualify for the Champions League, other options appear to be being explored.
Surely the most unlikely of those alternatives put forward is England international Rooney. Outgoing Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that the 27-year-old has asked to leave the club after playing a less prominent role in the side toward the climax of the season.
Although that request was rejected, Ferguson has admitted that the matter is now out of his hands. Paris Saint-Germain has been suggested as Rooney’s likeliest destination should he leave Old Trafford, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich also linked.
But when asked about the idea of Arsenal signing the player, Wenger did not rule out the possibility.
"Look, I'm not in a position today to speak about any transfer targets,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror. “What I am focused on is the short term and after the Newcastle game I give you answer about these questions." The chances of a move happening, however, appear at best incredibly remote. Not only will the signing involve Arsenal smashing their transfer record, but Rooney is thought to be on close to £300,000 a week at Old Trafford. To even come anywhere near to matching that figure, Arsenal would have to obliterate their strict wage structure. In addition, there is also the factor of United’s doubtless reluctance to sell Rooney to one of their Premier League rivals.
The other forward being linked with the Gunners on Tuesday is Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain. The Daily Mail reports that Arsenal are continuing to monitor the Argentina international, whom it is claimed Wenger first tried to sign when the 25-year-old was still at River plate before his move to the Bernabeu in January 2007.
Despite his continued impressive strike rate, Higuain has not been an automatic first-choice this season and there is likely to be much upheaval at Madrid this summer with the expected departure of manager Jose Mourinho. It is thought the striker could be available for around £20 million.
There has also been further news about what is believed to be another of Arsenal’s objectives this summer -- signing a top class goalkeeper.
The Gunners have been repeatedly linked with a move for Barcelona’s Victor Valdes, who has revealed that he will not be extending his contract beyond its current expiry in 2014.
Spanish radio station Cadena Ser has claimed that the 31-year-old has now made the decision that he wants to move on this summer. Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has also suggested that Valdes could be set to leave earlier than originally envisaged.
“Valdes is a magnificent keeper, a player who is priceless to us," he told RAC1. "If he wants to leave [this summer], we'll sit down with him and we'll look for the best solution."
There was also further confirmation from Zubizarreta that Valdes would be moving abroad. He has been strongly linked with a transfer to the Premier League, although French outfit Moncao are also thought to be interested.
"When we made the contract offer, we were told that he didn't want to renew his deal out of a desire to compete, to go somewhere new and try a different style of football,” he explained. "Being goalkeeper at Barca takes a lot out of you, and I think his decision is more a life choice than a professional one."
In addition, Arsenal are one of the clubs -- along with Manchester United and Chelsea -- said to be interested in Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. With Stoke having signed young England goalkeeper Jack Butland in January there has been much speculation that the 25-year-old Bosnian will be leaving in the summer.
And Begovic has said that he has ambitions to play at a higher level.
“We haven’t spoken at all yet, but I think we will sit down this week and formulate plans from there,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“All the speculation is flattering and nice, but as long as Stoke want me, I am contracted here. I am happy here and desperate to help the club push forward, as long as they are moving in the right direction.
“I have ambition to play at the highest level and test myself at that standard, if the opportunity arises.”