After bringing in zero outfield players last summer, Arsene Wenger is now under pressure with his Arsenal side failing to challenge for the Premier League title. The Frenchman will need to spend money in the summer to appease fans following their poor showing this term. No less than five of the top tales in this week’s round-up of transfer speculation feature the Gunners. Enjoy!
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Rumor: Bayern Munich to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Looking good. // The Talk: Arsenal are keen on signing Bayern Munich defender Mehdi Benatia, according to the Daily Star. With Per Mertesacker likely to leave in the summer and the underperforming Gabriel not impressing, Wenger will look to strengthen his defensive options in the summer. The report claims the Gunners boss was after Benatia two years ago and is now set to renew his interest in the Moroccan. While we are told that the deal could be dependent on whether the Bundesliga leaders can wrap up a deal for Borussia Dortmund center-back Mats Hummels.
Rumor: Atletico Madrid to Manchester United or Barcelona. // Likelihood: Barca in pole position. // The Talk: According to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Manchester United want to land Atletico Madrid starlet Saul Niguez but says Barcelona could beat them in the race. The 21-year-old, who scored a brilliant solo goal in Atletico’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich last week, has a buyout clause of €45million ($51.7million) and both the Red Devils and Barca are thought to be in the running. "Saul has a buy-out clause of 45m euros. There is a clause since the David Villa transfer to Barcelona, a clause that says Barcelona can equal any offer and can take him," Balague told Sky Sports. "Barcelona are interested, and so are Manchester United. He belongs 40 per cent to Jorge Mendes, and we’ll have to see. The last renewal offer from the club has been rejected by Saul, but the club will continue to negotiate."
Rumor: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United. // Likelihood: Maybe. // The Talk: The Daily Mail claims that Manchester United are edging towards the signing of Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The report says that meetings last week established the Gabon international as the Red Devils’ number one summer target. However, the club may have to stump up £70million ($102.6million) to land their man and hope Real Madrid don’t make a bid, as the Bernabeu is believed to be Aubameyang’s favored destination. The Daily Mail says that the striker will remain top of their hitlist even if Louis van Gaal leaves Old Trafford.
Rumor: Southampton to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Wenger to stay on. // The Talk: Ronald Koeman is top of Arsenal’s list of candidates to succeed Arsene Wenger, according to The Sun. Despite maintaining support at boardroom level, some Gunners fans have turned on the most successful manager in the club’s history. Southampton boss Koeman has emerged as a surprise candidate to take over from the Frenchman when he leaves the Emirates. The report says that while Laurent Blanc and Diego Simeone have been considered as potential candidates, the former Barcelona player would better suit Arsenal’s style of play. And, with only 12 months left on his contract at St Mary’s Stadium, the Gunners would only have to pay a relatively small fee to get the Dutchman.
Rumor: Bayern Munich to Arsenal. // Likelihood: Not this summer. // The Talk: Arsenal are ready to move for Robert Lewandowski if the striker decides to leave Bayern Munich, according to the Daily Mirror. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is rumored to be able to call on a transfer war chest of £150million ($219million) this summer following the new TV deal in England. And, with Robert Lewandowski hinting he may be interested in a transfer to the Premier League in the future, the report claims Wenger will try and seal a deal for the Polish international who is valued at£50million ($73.3million). Lewandowski has three years left on his contract and has scored 27 goals in his 30 Bundesliga appearances this campaign.
Rumor: Arsenal to Bayern Munich. // Likelihood: Bayern don’t need him. // The Talk: Bayern Munich plot summer transfer swoop for Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez, according to the Daily Mirror. The Bundesliga leaders have apparently made discreet enquiries to see if Arsenal would let one of their star players leave. Although Sanchez’s form has improved of late, the Chilean has endured a frustrating season after being limited by injuries. The 27-year-old has two years left on his contract and Bayern’s interest could be unsettling for a player who has yet to pledge his future to the Gunners. Even though Sanchez would improve any squad, the German giants already have some brilliant players such as Douglas Costa in the same position.
Rumor: Juventus to Arsenal, Manchester City or Real Madrid. // Likelihood: Moving on. // The Talk: Arsenal and Manchester City have been handed a major transfer boost after Alvaro Morata hinted he could quit Juventus this summer, according to The Sun. Morata told reporters recently: "Do I like this [Juventus] shirt? For me, what I like is scoring goals. I’m fighting for Juventus as they’re my team. Will I stay? We will see." The Spaniard has only started 16 Serie A matches this season and could be looking for more game time next season. Real Madrid, who have a buy-back clause in Morata’s contract, are thought to be keen, with both the Gunners and Man City linked heavily in recent weeks.
Rumor: Real Madrid to Manchester City. // Likelihood: No chance. // The Talk: Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale is on the shopping list of incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, according to the Express. The Welshman has scored 58 goals in 128 appearances since joining the Spanish side from Tottenham in 2013. Guardiola, who will replace Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City boss in the summer, apparently wants Bale to help spearhead an immediate Premier League title challenge next term. However, the Express also claims Real Madrid are hoping to pour cold water on City’s interest by offering the 26-year-old a £50,000 ($73,000) wage rise that would see him stay at the Bernabeu until 2021.
Rumor: Koln to Liverpool. // Likelihood: Makes sense. // The Talk: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is keen to sign Koln keeper Timo Horn, according to German magazine Kicker. The Liverpool manager has reportedly sent scouts to watch the player this season and it is thought that the Reds could sign the stopper for just £7million ($10.2million) as he has a clause in his contract. Horn said recently: "I have a long contract [until 2019] in Cologne and my heart is in Cologne. I think we will talk about it with the manager [Peter Stoger], Jorg Schmadtke and also the goalkeeper trainer and then we will see what comes next." This could be one to keep an eye on, especially with ongoing doubts over Simon Mignolet.
Rumor: Barcelona to Liverpool. // Likelihood: If he can prove he is over his injury problems. // The Talk: Spanish publication Sport has claimed that Liverpool have made a ‘formal offer’ for Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen. The Belgian center-back has struggled to force his way into the Barca first team so far with injuries partly to blame. The Reds are apparently searching for defensive reinforcements following Mamadou Sakho’s drugs ban. Vermaelen is behind Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu and Marc Bartra at the Catalan club and the La Liga leaders could be tempted to sell for the right price. According to reports, the ‘formal offer’ for Vermaelen is around the £7.5million ($10.9million) mark.