The 2011-2012 Premier League season is not even over, yet Arsenal are already involved in rather curious transfer speculation heading into the summer.
The Gunners seemed poised to add Lukas Podolski, but the Koln striker appears to be on the fence as to whether he will move on to the Premier League. The 26-year-old German international is considering Lazio, though Arsenal seem to have a better chance of qualifying for Champions League next season than the Serie A club.
There are several other high-profile players linked to Arsenal beyond Podolski. Young playmakers Eden Hazard and Mario Gotze, as well as centre back Jan Vertonghen, were involved in possible moves to Arsenal last August, and the Gunners reportedly are still keen on adding at least one of them.
Arsenal compensated for losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri by only adding Mikel Arteta, and by bringing in Chelsea's Yossi Benayoun on loan. The lack of a superstar replacement for such technically skilled players left Arsenal fans questioning the direction of the club.
While Arteta has provided stability in the midfield, the prospect of a more dynamic midfielder would certainly be welcomed at Emirates. Arsene Wenger and Arsenal management appear to be interested in spending more this summer, which means the club could finally drop £20 million on a world-class distributor.
Meanwhile, there are other names floating around. Oliver Giroud continues to be linked to the Gunners. Metro reported that Arsenal are now joined by Newcastle and Aston Villa for the services of the French striker.
Giroud is rated at £13 million, and is perhaps viewed as an insurance policy against Podolski's £10.9 million deal falling through. Giroud, 25, is having a solid season with Montpellier, and is expected to move on from the Ligue 1 club.
According to the Sun, Arsenal are pursuing Aymen Abdennour. The 22-year-old Toulouse defender is a versatile player, who is capable of playing left winger and full back, which might be two areas the Gunners could need to fill given the impending permanent departure of Andrey Arshavin, and the injuries to left backs Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs.
Despite his age, Abdennour has quality experience. He has 10 caps with Tunisia, and spent time with Werder Bremen on loan.
Udinese duo Mehdi Benatia and Mauricio Isla, as well as Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, have also been linked to the Gunners, in Internet reports.