As the Suarez deal is dead in the water, and there are no hints of any signings upon the horizon, I thought I would try and “second guess” who, if anyone, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal are going for.
It seemed like we were in for Gonzalo Higuain for around £22 million but then he went to Napoli for £34 million. And despite all the mumblings about having a £70 million war chest the bottom line is 3 months after the season ended we haven’t spent a penny.
Our transfer record is £15 million for Jose Antonio Reyes and we have yet to break that as yet. And to be honest, deep down I don’t think many Arsenal fans expected us to complete a £50 million deal for Suarez. There is a minuscule chance it could happen but for many reasons, including Liverpool’s huge reluctance to sell I just don’t think Arsene would take that risk.
Not on Luis Suarez specifically (and his problems), but on signing a single player for £40 million plus. We know what Arsene’s like, and would be spend that much on one player? What if he gets injured? What happens if the signing doesn’t work out? The usually frugal Wenger would have a seizure if something went wrong and he spent the best part of £40 million on it.
So it is clear that Arsene would (if he signs anyone) spent around the £20 million mark. Only yesterday, there were rumours of Arsenal going for Luiz Gustavo for £14.5 million. That is a much more realistic transfer possibility that Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney or Gonzalo Higuain. Whatever you think about Arsene, he still likes value for money.
So what positions do we need strengthening?
Well a central defender is paramount with Vermaelen injured, Miguel and Djourou going out on loan and with Bacary Sagna filling in at the moment. So who is available and under £20 million?
We know Ashley Williams has been linked to us all summer so maybe that deal could come in? Then there’s Phil Jagielka from Everton who would be around £14 million. Or how about someone from Ligue 1? Then someone like Nicolas N’Koulou.
We also need a midfielder and striker, and we’ve already been linked with Luiz Gustavo. Aaron Ramsey has looked good in pre-season but we can’t rely on him, and Wilshere and Arteta could get injured or at least need resting during the season.
In terms of midfielders, Fellaini would fit the bill but I’m not sure Everton would sell for less than £20 million. But how about Sebastian Larsson? He’s played for Sunderland for a few years and impressed, and is technically very good. I’ve always liked him and I’m sure he’d like to move back to Arsenal. And what about Mohamed Diame? He is a real powerhouse in the middle of the park and has an eye for goal as well.
So then we move on to strikers.
Christian Benteke was linked to us and before signing a new contract with Aston Villa would have been around £20 million. Then there is Demba Ba of Chelsea who will probably find it hard to get a game with Torres and Lukaku in the squad, and with Rooney who might join them. And Remy would have been a decent buy if he didn’t move to Newcastle.
So who do you think we could get for less than £20 million? With the squad as light as it is, you would like to think Arsene is looking to buy 3/4 players in different positions rather than splash £50 million on Suarez.