Arsenal are expected to soon unveil their first signing of the summer transfer window with Arsene Wenger revealing that talks over a move for France Under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo are at an “advanced stage.” Ahead of what is expected to be a hectic summer for the Gunners, Wenger has also again refused to rule out a move for Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney.
Sanogo, currently with Ligue 2 side Auxerre, will be out of contract at the end of the season, but Arsenal will still have to pay the French club compensation. Still, Wenger expects a move for the 20-year-old, who has scored eight goals in just seven appearances this season, to go through.
“We are advanced with him, but it is not done," said Wenger, according to the Guardian. "I am very confident. He is a young striker who is promising, and has a big talent."
It is a prospective move for Rooney, though, that will generate excitement and headlines around the Emirates. Reports claim that Arsenal could have anywhere between £70 million and £100 million available to spend this summer on the back of new sponsorship deals and a boost in revenue from the Premier League’s new broadcasting deal.
A deal for Rooney, who asked to leave Manchester United for a second time in three years in recent weeks, would take a large chunk of those funds. And Wenger was asked whether Arsenal could afford the England international.
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“That is not even a question at the moment,” he said. “We have not gone into that. At the moment we have no interest in anybody, we have only one interest and that is of course Sunday's game [against Newcastle United].”
While a transfer fee for Rooney would in theory be affordable for Arsenal, there must be major doubts as to whether the Gunners would be able or willing to come close to matching his reportedly current £250,000-a-week wages. Arsenal have a strict wage structure, with their current top earner thought to be on less than half that figure. Yet, the Daily Mail has claimed that the club’s staff discussed a potential move for Rooney as long ago as March, when it first became clear that the 27-year-old was no longer considered an integral member of the United side.
Meanwhile, there continue to be suggestions that Arsenal could reignite their interest in Barcelona forward David Villa. Wenger made a failed approach for the Spain international in January and it had been thought that younger targets were now the priority with Tottenham now seen as favorites to do a deal. However, Spanish publication AS reports that Villa could yet move to the Emirates, potentially in part of a double deal that would also see Arsenal sign Victor Valdes.
The Barcelona goalkeeper has been strongly linked with the Gunners after he revealed that he will not be extending his contract, which is set to expire in 2014. There is a growing belief that the Spain international could depart as early as this summer. AS believes a deal for the two 31-year-olds could be struck for €25 million (£21m). Valdes is also thought to be drawing interest from nouveau-riche newly-promoted Ligue 1 side Monaco.