Arsenal could be set to miss out on two goalkeeping targets, according to recent quotes from the men in question. However, while Arsene Wenger was believed to be considering replacing Wojciech Szczesny during the summer, it remains to be seen whether that inclination remains. The young Pole has had a return to form at the start of the season, while the Gunners also brought in Italy international Emiliano Viviano on a season-long loan from Palermo.
Yet, there has been strong talk of late of Wenger keeping a keen eye on Aston Villa stopper Brad Guzan. After struggling to establish himself in his first four years at Villa Park, the U.S. international impressed in a struggling team last season and has made a strong start to this campaign. Despite the rumors of interest from Arsenal, the 29-year-old says that he is happy where he is.
“Aston Villa, they've stuck by me, especially the manager, [Paul Lambert],” he told ESPN last week. “He’s given me a chance to play consistent football in Europe. It’s always nice when you’re linked with other teams, but for me, I’m very happy at Aston Villa.”
Arsenal have also been linked for some time with Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes. The 31-year-old has long since confirmed that he will be leaving the Camp Nou when his contract expires next summer. The desire for a fresh experience abroad has been cited as Valdes’s motivation and he has hinted that big-spending Monaco, where he could reunite with former Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, is a strong contender for his services.
“Ligue 1 attracts me a lot -- Monaco or elsewhere in France," he said, according to Sky Sports. "This is one of my options. [My future] is in the hands of my representatives. But Monaco is a good option.
"I know that Abidal is very happy at Monaco and I am good friends with him. I consider him a brother. He is an example as a human being. To go back and play at his side again could be very special."
While Valdes will be available for free, a substantial fee will be required to pry another rumored target, Julian Draxler, away from Schalke. Arsenal are one of several of Europe’s biggest clubs to be linked with the 20-year-old attacking midfielder. A transfer was mooted this summer, but in the end another Germany international, Mesut Ozil, arrived. It appears unlikely at this stage that Wenger will move for Draxler, given the presence of not only Ozil, but Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky. Still, Draxler has cited Arsenal as one of the clubs that could tempt him away from Schalke.
"I owe Schalke a lot, I have always been at Schalke,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror. “I need to emphasize this. But I 'm not so rooted here that I could not tear myself away. I can honestly say that it is my dream to play for one of the big clubs at some point.
“When asked which clubs would interest him, he replied: "The big two in Spain -- Real and Barcelona -- Bayern and a few others from England, namely Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.”
Meanwhile, on the back of speculation that Bacary Sagna is unimpressed with Arsenal’s latest contract offer and could leave on a free transfer this summer, the Gunners have been linked with Genoa right-back Sime Vrsaljko. The Daily Mirror believes that Wenger has informed his scouts to focus on finding a potential replacement for Sagna, with Croatia international Vrsaljko said to be firmly on the radar.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.