ARSENAL TRANSFER RUMOURS: Kagawa, Dembele, Yanga-Mbiwa, Luis Neto, Van Persie, Powell, Involved In Latest Speculation

 @JasonLeMiere
on May 11 2012 3:43 PM
Shinji Kagawa
With 13 goals and eight assists in the Bundesliga this term, Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa could be a hugely influential signing for Arsenal. Reuters

Arsenal faces arguably one of the biggest games in its illustrious history on Sunday when they travel to the Midlands to take on West Brom. A win and a Champions League place is secured for the 15th consecutive season. Anything else and the Gunners will be left desperately relying on other results to decide their fate.

A season without the big nights out in Europe and the money that comes with it is virtually unthinkable for the modern Arsenal. It could potentially have a huge impact on the makeup of the squad next season and for several years to come.

Chief among Arsenal's concerns will be that Robin van Persie, already dallying on signing a new contract, will bid farewell to the Emirates if he cannot at least play in the Champions League next season.

Despite this fear, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has spoken of his confidence that Van Persie will stay,

We haven't talked to Robin yet, but I spoke to Arsene [Wenger] recently, he said, according to the Daily Star. He is very confident he will stay and I very much hope he will.

We have had no official approaches from any other club, as far as I am aware.

As well as the players they may lose, a lack of Champions League soccer at the Emirates next term is also likely to impact the caliber of singings the club can make this summer.

According to the Daily Mirror Arsenal is pursuing an interest in Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa. The Japan international's contract expires next summer and it is widely expected that he will now leave Germany at the end of the season.

But with Manchester United said to be in pole position for his signature, failure on Sunday could scupper hopes of Arsenal signing the talented attacking midfielder.

Arsenal could also be set for a battle with the Premier League elite for another reported target, Moussa Dembele, according to Goal.com.

The versatile Fulham attacker has yet to put pen to paper on extending a deal that expires at the end of next season. And. after an impressive year at Craven Cottage, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are all said to hold an interest in the Belgium international.

The 24-year-old is rated at £12-£15 million by Fulham, according to the report.

It is a similar story for Montepellier center-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Talksport reports on Friday that Manchester United has joined the race to sign the 22-year-old, who has long been talked of as a potential Arsenal recruit.

When pressed on the matter the France Under-21 international said he simply that he was flattered to be linked with two such renowned clubs.  

My desire is to play in England ahead of any other European league, he reportedly told L'Equipe.

For me it would be a dream come true to see myself in the Premier League. Arsenal or Manchester United? They are two great clubs.

I feel very honored they are interested in me and at the end of the season I will evaluate my future.

Another, likely less expensive option to boost Arsenal's options in the center of defense is Nacaional's Luis Neto. The Daily Mirror reports that the Gunners are keeping a keen eye on the 23-year-old who has made 24 appearances in the Portuguese Liga this season.

If Champions League qualification is not secured then manager Arsene Wenger may be forced to revert to a strategy with which he is very familiar, recruiting young, raw talent. One rumored target that fits that mold is Crewe teenager Nick Powell.

According to the Daily Express, Arsenal will have some convincing to do to lure the talented No.10 to the club with Chelsea joining Manchester United in the battle for the 18-year-old.

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