Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arsene Wenger Targets St Etienne Stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang And Stephane Ruffier

on March 10 2013 11:29 AM
Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arsene Wenger Targets St Etienne Stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang And Stephane Ruffier

The UK press claim Arsene Wenger is ready to bolster Arsenal's ailing squad by snatching two stars from St Etienne this summer. Goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier is a prime target according to The Daily Mirror. While Metro suggests Wenger is also keen on striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Mirror claims the Gunners are already sending top scout Steve Rowley to assess the pair. Both players fill obvious positions of need and fit with Wenger's policy of recruiting from his homeland.

That policy has come in for criticism from some Arsenal fans in recent seasons. It's not entirely unwarranted. Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho and Olivier Giroud stand out as particularly questionable recent purchases from Ligue 1.

However, even that trio can't obscure Wenger's otherwise exemplary record buying from France. Not when his successes include the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Bacary Sagna.

Wenger could be encouraged to plunder French football's top flight again, if Rowley is suitably enamoured with Ruffier and Aubameyang. Ruffier is a particularly interesting transfer to consider.

Not long ago Wojciech Szczesny appeared the answer to Arsenal's woes between the posts. Still only 22, Szczesny certainly boasts potential. However, like many in Wenger's current squad, the Polish stopper simply hasn't developed as expected.

He has become particularly prone to errors. Still effective in one-on-one situations, Szczesny struggles to deal with crosses and long shots. His issues with both seem to be getting worst. The youngster can often appear too cocky and casual. His basic mechanics are poor and that's cost Arsenal goals and points more than once during this campaign.

The Mirror notes that St Etienne field the second-best defence in Ligue 1 and Ruffier has contributed to that solidity. The 26-year-old is already an international and at worst would finally provide Szczesny with strong competition and might motivate him to improve his technique.

Aubameyang seems like a prime target for Wenger, with Metro claiming French scout Giles Grimandi has already watched the striker. At 23, he is a young player on the rise, with the potential to develop even further.

That's the type of signing Wenger is usually drawn to. He would likely relish the opportunity to hones the talents of the Gabon-born striker. Wenger's record of unearthing skilful African prospects is virtually unmatched in the modern game.

At AS Monaco he discovered George Weah. Since arriving at Arsenal, Wenger has put faith in the likes of Nwankwo Kanu, Lauren, Kolo Toure and Alex Song. Indeed, like Kanu, Aubameyang is a mercurial front man. He is blessed with superb control and a knack for spectacular goals.

There's no doubt Wenger needs to add more skill and composure to his inconsistent forward line before next season. If he decides Aubameyang is the man for the job, Metro indicates a fee between £10-15 million will be required.

Many may be tempted to roll their eyes at the prospect of Wenger again looking to France for help. However, if the Gunners chief can rediscover his magic touch for finding talent from the country, he could rebuild Arsenal into a challenger sooner rather than later.