Following the patterns of the last two summer transfer windows, the Gunners would be expecting that Arsene Wenger pulls off another coup this summer by completing a big money signing of a world class player. The arrivals of Mesut Ozil and then Alexis Sanchez have heralded a new dawn and after capturing Peter Cech, Arsenal aren’t too far from a team that will become a genuine title challenger next season.
The aforementioned duo arrived from the two biggest Spanish clubs after they were deemed to be surplus to requirements and there are a few players this time around who despite their quality might well be on the move this summer. Here are the list of five such players.
Rumours linking the Chile star to Arsenal have been around since the season ended and with the arrival of Sami Khedira on a free transfer, Juventus could cash in on Vidal who was instrumental in them winning the Serie A as well as reaching the Champions League final. He scored 7 goals and claimed 4 assists from 28 appearances in the league after recovering from a knee injury at the start of the season.
The 28-year-old will be an excellent addition in the midfield as he possesses a tenacious bite to his game which Arsenal’s creative midfielders don’t have. A price of £21 million is being quoted for Vidal who chases and harries the ball in the same mould as his compatriot Alexis Sanchez.
His ball winning skills are emphasised by the fact that his 52 tackles were the most in last season’s Champions League and he would suit Arsenal’s high pressing game based on the fact that no player has won possession in the attacking third more times in the last 4 Serie A seasons than his 84 times.
The emergence of Francis Coquelin has been noteworthy of course but if Arsenal are to compete on multiple fronts next season, players like Vidal will add invaluable experience and class in the heart of midfield.
Despite starting 29 La Liga games last season, it is widely assumed that with the arrival of Rafa Benitez, Benzema will have to contend with playing second fiddle to Ronaldo who will start at the tip of the 4-2-3-1 favoured by the new manager.
The 27-year-old is in the prime of his career and with Euro 2016 in his home country after the end of the season, he could be on his way out for as little as £18 million. Having scored 22 goals last season, Benzema is a prolific striker who will be a massive addition if Arsenal are able to pull this off. He can link up with his international teammate Olivier Giroud as well as lead the line on his own. His superb movement and link up play has the potential to make Arsenal the most feared attack in the league though it remains to be seen if Real Madrid let him go so cheaply.
Only two players were directly involved in more goals in the last 3 La Liga seasons than the Frenchmen’s 73 (43 goals and 30 assists). And we all know who those two aliens are.
Another brilliant player playing for one of the giant Spanish clubs and will only be limited to a role from the bench at best. Pedro was one of the mainstays during Pep Guardiola’s golden era but despite adding another Champions League title to his CV, he might be looking to move at the age of 27.
Having signed a contract extension until 2019, his opportunities will continue to be limited with the front three of Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez blocking his path to first team football.
Also linked with Liverpool, the winger made 20 substitute appearances and only 15 starts, with just 6 of those coming post the turn of the year. The arrival of Arda Turan further pushed the Spaniard towards and exit with a fee reportedly around £15 million.
He could have been a suitable replacement for Theo Walcott had Arsenal been looking to sell him, but that looks unlikely now that he has signed a new four-year contract until the summer of 2019. Therefore, despite the fact that he would strengthen the Gunners attack, fans of the North London club would be hoping that Wenger targets a 20-goals a season striker rather than another wide forward.
Scorer of Germany’s World Cup winning goal Mario Gotze played a combined total of just 20 minutes in Bayern’s three big matches towards the end of the season: the two legs against Barcelona as well as the DFB Pokal defeat against former club Borussia Dortmund.
His agent Volker Struth slammed the Bavarian’s management for the ‘lack of support’ offered to his client.
“I would have liked if Mario Gotze had felt more support in one or two situations”, he said. “I am fully convinced that when he feels this support, it is easier for him to show his incredible potential. Then he is one of the best players in the world.”
Bayern completed the signing of Douglas Costa which adds further competition for the places in their attacking line-up.
Wenger was reportedly a keen admirer of the German before his controversial move two years ago however a price in the region of £49.6 million might prove to be too steep for the Gunners. Moreover, the 23-year-old would be another attacking midfielder and that is nowhere near a priority for Arsenal.
Another one of Arsenal’s targets from two years ago, Higuain has apparently told Napoli’s president that he wants out having endured a dismal end to the campaign in which his missed penalty eventually led to a final day defeat against Lazio costing the Naples outfit a place in the Champions League next season.
The 27-year-old remains a goal machine and is bound to improve on his ratio of almost 1 goal every two games for Napoli – he has scored 35 goals from 69 matches in the last two seasons having moved for £29 million
His buyout clause is an implausible £72 million, though the Argentine could be on his way out for around £43m. Higuain is one of the top quality strikers in the marker and he would surely be worth his weight in gold at the Emirates. However, if his former partner Benzema is on the market too, the Real Madrid man is the one Wenger should be targeting especially with the price for his services quoted around.
In order to challenge for the title, Arsenal needed a top quality signing each in all four areas of the pitch at the end of last season. They have made a statement of intent starting at the base of the field in the form of Cech. If they get someone like Vidal to screen their defence, they might not need to buy a centre-back. That leaves them with signing a forward, and Benzema remains the best striker that a team in the Premier League can hope to get this summer.