For the first time in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal’s career his team has failed to finish in the EPL top four and as a result of that will not be competing in next season’s European Champions League. This summer looks set to be a strange one for Arsenal supporters as their club seems to be ready to spend big money to ensure they bring in top players, something that Arsene Wenger used to frown at in the past.
Today, I will be taking a look at the top five Arsenal transfer stories according to the reports to see who could join Sead Kolasinac at the Emirates this summer and what they would bring to the team.
Leicester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)
The Algerian winger is no stranger to English football and Arsenal fans as he was an integral member of the all conquering Leicester City side that surprised everyone on their way to winning the EPL title in the 2015/2016 season, emerging as the player of the year in England that season. Arsene Wenger tried to get him after that campaign, but the Algerian wasn’t ready to leave Leicester at that point as he wanted to help them prosecute their UCL campaign. The winger however announced at the end of last month that he wanted to quit the 2016 Premier League title winners this summer and four days later Wenger confirmed his interest in the Algerian. Mahrez would be an upgrade on Arsenal’s current options out wide, since Sanchez is being played as a striker, and the reported £26million fee quoted is surprisingly low given the inflated transfer market at the moment. Both parties are keen to make the move happen and this deal is likely to happen.
Monaco had a fantastic campaign this past season and the result of that success might just see them lose a lot of their top performers from the just concluded season. One of them is Thomas Lemar, who was very impressive as the club clinched the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League quarter-finals. The twenty-one year old showed just how good he is and is now wanted by a host of European clubs which includes Arsenal. His price tag is estimated to be around £35million, which given the current market, is reasonable. However, bringing him to the Emirates might be dependent on whether Alexis Sanchez remains at Arsenal or if Riyadh Mahrez comes in because the youngster mainly plays off the left flank.
This young Frenchman was a revelation last season and has been on the wish list of almost every top team in Europe. There was a reported bid of £87million from the north London club for him which was rejected by Monaco, although Arsenal deny any offer was made. He is fast, strong and has an eye for goal notching up twenty-six goals this past season. He has been likened to Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry and Arsene Wenger’s reputation of nurturing young talents from potential to greatness might be enough to convince the teenager, however, it doesn’t seem as if sentiment will play any part in Monaco letting go of their prized asset as he will only leave the principality side for most likely a world record fee.
Alexis Sanchez was used as a striker for the best part of last season and are a proper striker for the club seems to be a priority for next season. They have Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud in their ranks but Arsene Wenger isn’t fully sold on using either of them as his main target man and will go all out to get Alexandre Lacazette. The French striker had reportedly agreed to join Atletico Madrid this summer, however, the fact that the Spanish club’s transfer ban was upheld broke the move down and gave Arsenal the chance to make their own move. The Gunners are confident of landing the striker; however the French club will want to exploit Arsenal’s desperation for a striker by trying to get as much money as they can from the English club.
England’s defender Chris Smalling attends a press conference in Chantilly, on June 8, 2016, two days prior to the beginning of the Euro 2016 football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS
Arsene Wenger is a known admirer of the defender, who was an imposing figure for Manchester United’s defence in Louis Van Gaal’s final season at the club, but was in and out of the starting XI under Jose Mourinho last season. Wenger was interested in the centre-back when he played for Fulham in 2010 and reportedly had a £12million bid rejected in 2015 by United. If the Gunners continue to play a back three next season, then it is only logical to get Smalling. He will be a valuable addition as he is fast, powerful and strong in the air. Smalling might need to ask for a transfer if he sees himself as surplus to requirement in Manchester with the arrival of Victor Lindelof, to make this deal happen quickly and smoothly.