As the crucial date of July 1st draws nearer the rumours involving Arsenal and potential targets are hotting up. At the moment transfers are only possible between Arsenal and other English clubs, but on July 1st the door opens between them and the rest of Europe. The need for new players at Arsenal has been declared by manager Arsene Wenger, and it's well known to every single one of their fans too.
Of course Arsenal are notoriously slow in completing transfers, and with only eight days to go to the official opening of the window they should really be in negotiations with players and clubs already.
Moussa Sissiko is a player that has been linked with Arsenal in the past, and if the reports on Talksport are to be believed they are interested in signing him again. He's a central midfielder who can play either a defensive or an attacking role. At only 22 years he's not exactly as experienced a player as Arsenal might need, but he has been very impressive for his French club Toulouse.
Comparisons have been drawn between him and Patrick Vieira and it's easy to see why, as they are of a similar build and play in the same position. Arsenal's need to sign a player to cover for and compete with Alex Song is well known, and Sissoko looks to have all the attributes to do just that. His lack of experience might count against him, but there aren't too many other candidates to fill the role available to Arsenal.
Wenger has signed so many young players from France over the years that any player from that country becomes a real possibility when mentioned. I would prefer to see Arsenal sign some real quality and experience to compete with and play alongside Song at times, but if the right player cannot be found Sissoko is a real alternative. He should be available at a reasonable price too, and that always seems to be a factor with Arsenal.
Jose Enrique has a year left on his current contract at Newcastle, and he had a pretty good season at left back for them. Arsenal's current left back is Gael Clichy, but he has only one year left on his contract too and apparently he wants a move if the reports in the Mail are to be believed. I can't honestly say that I think he's any better than Clichy, but if Clichy does leave Arsenal will have to find a replacement and according to the Metro they are interested in Enrique.
It was hoped that Kieran Gibbs would be the player to step up and replace Clichy, but he has become so injury prone that his progress has been severely hampered. He needs to get a full season under his belt and that might have to be on loan at another club which would necessitate Arsenal signing a new left back if Clichy leaves. Enrique has Premier League experience and he is a better option than Gibbs at the moment in my opinion, but I don't think he is the solution for Arsenal.
If Clichy does leave Arsenal I think they need to find a replacement who can perform at a higher level than Enrique, and spend the money that is required to get a quality replacement. Clichy hasn't been at his best for a couple of seasons, but Enrique would not be an improvement and Arsenal have to look to be improving their team.
Jose Manuel Jurado has been linked to Arsenal in The Sun, and he is seen as one of the men responsible for helping Schalke 04 reach the Champions League semi finals last season. He is primarily an attacking midfielder, but he can play in a wide role or off the main striker as well. He will be 25 years old in a few days, and he would seem to fit the bill for the type of attacking player Arsenal are looking for.
He has played for both Madrid clubs and Real Mallorca in the past, but he seems to have saved his best performances for Schalke last season. He has only been with them for one season, and according to the report in The Sun Arsenal are looking to buy him for less than Schalke paid last summer. I can't imagine that Schalke would allow one of their star performers to leave for less money after only one season, but stranger things have happened in football.
Joey Barton is seen as the bad boy of English football, and it's a reputation he fully deserves. His off field actions have landed him in jail and he appears to be no more than a thug at best, but according to the Telegraph Arsenal are contemplating a move for him. Like so many other players he has only one year left on his contract, and Newcastle will have to sell him rather than let him go on a free transfer next summer.
He claims to be cleaning up his life, but I have no doubt that there is plenty more to come from Barton. It was his challenge on Abu Diaby which led to Newcastle's comeback from 4-0 down to Arsenal in February 2011, and he is a player who cannot be trusted in my opinion. Arsenal need to add some aggression to their game, but signing Barton would be a mistake in my opinion.
The aggression he would add would not have a positive affect on the team and I don't believe his off field problems are fully behind him either. I can't imagine Arsene Wenger would want to sign a convicted criminal who has assaulted a team mate as well as various members of the public in cowardly fashions.
Raphael Varane is a 19 year old defender who plays with Lens in France, and Arsenal were apparently interested in signing him. However it appears that they have lost out to Real Madrid according to the Metro, and it's probably not a bad thing. Arsenal need to sign a central defender with experience of the Premier League and not another promising young talent which is all Varane is at the moment.
There is still no further firm news on other supposed Arsenal targets such as Gervinho, Christopher Samba, Gary Cahill, and Peter Odemwinige, but speculation is rife that one or all of them will be signed within a matter of hours, days or weeks depending on what you believe. As always Wenger will play his cards close to his chest, and all transfers will only be absolutely certain when they are announced on Arsenal.com. It does look like it will be a very interesting and busy transfer window for Arsenal fans though, as soon as the ball gets rolling.
That's it for today.
Here's a look at young Arsenal player Ryo Miyachi's first goal on loan at Feyenoord.
See You Tomorrow.