Five potential off-season options for Arsenal

Following the success of our mini-series on possible transfer targets for the Premier League’s three promoted clubs, while the rumour mill continues to turn, we are going to look at f

Following the success of our mini-series on possible transfer targets for the Premier League’s three promoted clubs, while the rumour mill continues to turn, we are going to look at five potential targets for the other 17 Premier League clubs.  We’re going to start with Arsenal.

After consecutive summers of continuously selling their biggest stars to their rivals, the suggestion was that Arsenal are ready to bring big names in themselves this summer. Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis confirmed as much this week saying the Gunners are ready for a “big summer” in the transfer market. Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young are set to follow Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci out of the exit door and France Under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo will join on a free transfer from Auxerre. But who might Arsene Wenger be looking to splash his rumoured £70 million kitty on?

Here’s five suggestions:

Wayne Rooney (Striker, Manchester United)
Olivier Giroud had a decent debut season for the Gunners, notching 17 goals, but is short of being able to fill the vacuum left by Van Persie. Rooney’s future has been the subject of intense speculation since being left out of Manchester United’s Champions’ League defeat to Real Madrid in March and more so since Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he had handed in a transfer request towards the end of the campaign. The Champions are unwilling to sell and Rooney, 27, features heavily in United’s marketing campaign for their new home strip which may or may not be significant. However, if new Old Trafford boss David Moyes fails to persuade Rooney that he should remain at United, Arsenal is a viable option as it is understood Rooney would prefer not to move abroad. If he leaves United, however, Chelsea are favourites to sign him. Arsenal appear to be in a battle with Juventus for the signatures of two other forwards in Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic, while Michu is also on Arsene Wenger’s radar as a cheaper alternative.

Marouane Fellaini (Midfielder, Everton)
It has been eight years since Arsenal last won a trophy and that has been due, in part, to a lack of competitive ‘bite’ in midfield. Fellaini, 25, certainly has that in abundance and reports suggest Arsenal are leading the race to sign him, though facing competition from Manchester United. Everton paid £15 million for the 6’4” Belgian international in 2008 and he is known to have a release clause of around £24 million in his contract. As well as his preferred midfield role, Fellaini’s stature has also seen him operate effectively further forward for Everton, but with new attackers likely to come in, Arsenal are likely to have enough options in that department. Another midfield option is former Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas, who is also interesting Manchester United but looks likely to remain at Barcelona this summer. Dortmund’s impressive holding midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Celtic’s Kenyan Victor Wanyama have also been linked. Another option could be Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender who looks set to move on in the current transfer window.

Julio Cesar (Goalkeeper, Queen’s Park Rangers)
What is a near certainty is that Arsenal will sign a goalkeeper before September. The question is, who? Judging by reports, the most likely is QPR’s Brazilian number one Julio Cesar. Although Cesar was one of Rangers’ better players as they finished hopelessly at the foot of the Premier League last season, they want his £70,000 per week pay packet off their wage bill. It is also unlikely Cesar, 33, will want to be playing in the Championship as he gears up to keep goal for Brazil at next summer’s World Cup in his home country. However, reports from last week suggesting that Arsenal were in advanced talks seemed to have cooled slightly. If that deal does not come off, the Gunners have been long linked with Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet who, it is understood, will not sign a new deal on Wearside, though has said he will honour his current contract. Another option would be Stoke’s Asmir Begovic but the Bosnian looks certain to join Liverpool.

Ashley Williams (Defender, Swansea)
Wenger finally seems to have settled on a first choice defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, but needs back-up. Sebastian Squillaci has been released and Johan Djourou looks set to leave. Meanwhile, Thomas Vermaelen, the club captain, lost form and his place last season and Arsenal are said to be open to offers for the Belgian. That would leave Wenger with just two recognised centre-backs, something he would need to rectify if he hopes to launch a serious title challenge. Swansea’s Williams is expected to join with Arsenal looking likely to beat off competition from Liverpool. Meanwhile, Liverpool are also likely to challenge Arsenal and Tottenham for the signature of Toby Alderweireld, the Ajax defender who has stated he would like to move to the Premier League. Another name mentioned is Newcastle defender Steven Taylor who would not be first choice, but Wenger desperately needs depth should Djourou and Vermaelen leave.

Clement Grenier (Attacking midfielder, Olympique Lyonnais)
Should Wenger want to add some creativity to his squad, then Grenier will almost certainly be a target. The French international, 22, has caught the eye of Wenger who has likened him to Samir Nasri. He only has a year left on his contract and Lyon may want to cash in. However, Grenier’s father has stated that he believes his son will remain in France for the time being which may force Arsenal to look elsewhere. Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan, long linked with a move to the Premier League, is an option, as is Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan who is rumoured to be wanted by Galatasaray, Liverpool and Barcelona amongst others.  However, the Turkish international may stay with the Copa del Rey Winners who will be in the Champions’ League next term. The Gunners have also been linked with Real Mallorca’s promising 19-year-old Ruben Garcia while Nani of Manchester United is also an option. The Portuguese winger has regularly tormented Arsenal for United and is unlikely to move to the Emirates, with Galatasaray or Monaco favourites to sign him.

What do you think? Who would you suggest? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.