With the Premier League season almost over, clubs are already scouting their potential recruits, and one man who is under immense pressure to deliver the goods during the closed season is Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Having bought no outfield player last summer, Wenger has been accused by a section of Arsenal supporters of having overlooked the needs of the team. With just one year remaining on his contract, the Frenchman would be keen to add some quality and depth to the team he has led for the better part of two decades.
A number of names have already been doing the rounds as far as Arsenal transfer news is concerned, and so here is your comprehensive lowdown on the players who could make their way to the Emirates this summer.
Perhaps the most audible — and the most credible — rumor emerging from all the Arsenal transfer echoes doing the rounds is the one linking Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka to the Gunners. According to the Independent, Arsenal have already made their first transfer move of the summer having tabled a $49 million (£33.8 million) bid to Borussia Monchengladbach for the midfielder who, in the words of former Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, is “an absolute top player, capable of playing for any top team in the world.”
While early reports suggested that Monchengladbach were hoping to get in excess of $50 million for Xhaka, Arsenal, as is customary under Arsene Wenger, were keen on buying him for less. However, on Tuesday, German journalist Raphael Honigstein tweeted out some interesting details about the possible Arsenal transfer.
A change of tack from Wenger? After having earlier offer rebuffed, he's come back to pay full whack for Xhaka. (€50m, including add-ons)— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 11, 2016
Gladbach are trying to get a replacement signed before announcing the deal.— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 11, 2016
Other reliable sources have claimed that Honigstein is possibly correct about the deal. With Xhaka having made it clear that he would like to sort out his future before the Euros, Arsenal fans could expect their first summer signing in the form of the Swiss midfielder soon.
With the Arsenal midfield trio of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, and Mathieu Flamini all certain to depart the Emirates this summer, Arsene Wenger would be looking to add some steel to his squad, and where to look further than the Premier League’s own golden boys — Leicester City.
Having made a $9 million (£6.4 million) move to Leicester last summer, Kanté was instrumental in guiding Claudio Ranieri’s men to their first title in history. A box-to-box player and a touch-tackling midfielder, the Frenchman is expected to be on the radar of various European clubs, but Arsene Wenger is known to be a close admirer.
While his price would be significantly lesser than Xhaka (he apparently has a $29 million release clause in his contract), Leicester would loath to part ways with him just yet. With a great engine in front of back four, Kanté could bring the defensive stability that Arsenal craved for during their most difficult period in the season, when Wenger lost both Frances Coquelin and Santi Cazorla to injuries.
Having said that, there has been no news of Arsenal officially approaching Kanté yet, and it could be a while before we hear anything further on this front.
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni
Probably the most obscure of Arsenal’s current transfer targets, non-league player Yasin Ben El-Mhanni is on the radar of both Arsene Wenger and Leicester City’s Ranieri, and it would be interesting to see both of them battle it out for the Moroccan sensation.
El-Mhanni has previously had trials with West Bromwich and is currently on the lookout for a professional club. A year ago, a player of El-Mhanni’s reputation would not even have been worth being in a mud-fight for, but having seen what former non-league players like Mahrez have achieved with Leicester City, Wenger might be tempted to bring in El-Mhanni.
A wonderfully creative prospect who could arrive at the Emirates for an insanely low figure, El-Mhanni could prove to be a steal for Arsenal.
According to the Mirror, Arsenal have inquired Marseille about forward Michy Batshuayi, and with news of Danny Welbeck being sidelined for more nine months coming in yesterday, Arsene Wenger might want to bolster his options up front with this gifted striker.
Having scored 21 times in 48 appearances this season for a weakened Marseilles, Batshuayi is a player of genuine quality and would like to step up in his career after his team failed to qualify for Champions League next season.
West Ham have been reported to keep close tabs on him too.
When it comes to transfers, Arsenal have had a reserved policy over the years but expect things to change this summer as Wenger goes searching for that elusive league title before his career draws to a close.
Watch this space for more exclusive coverage of all Arsenal transfers.
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