With the real start of the transfer window almost upon the football world the rumour mill is churning out an increasing amount of gossip for all football fans. Arsenal find themselves in a position where they need to add some real quality to their squad, and as a result they have been linked with their fair share of players. I'll attempt to rate their chances of signing the five players who are most likely to join them this summer.
Of course there are still 65 days left in the transfer window and Arsenal are well known for leaving their business until just before the window closes. There are bound to be plenty of other players linked between now and August 31, but if Arsenal are to prepare properly for the new season they need to act fast. However, there is no point in signing players if they are not of the quality Arsenal need to improve their team.
Juan Mata is a very talented left winger who plays for Valencia and the Spanish national team. With Cesc Fabregas possibly on his way out of Arsenal to Barcelona Arsene Wenger will have to be very busy in the transfer market to attempt to keep his team in a competitive position for next season. Mata is the most recent player to be linked with them, and according to The Mail Arsenal have made an £18 million bid for him.
He's a player with real potential and he is by far the best player to be linked with Arsenal so far this summer. He could fit nicely into the current team, and his inclusion would certainly improve the overall quality of the team and the squad. However, he has to be added to the current squad and not bought to replace either Samir Nasri or Cesc, or the overall quality will decrease.
Mata only turned 23 a couple of months ago, but has more than 200 senior games under his belt and he has scored over 50 goals in those games. He has been very impressive for Valencia, but he failed to make the grade at Real Madrid as a younger player. His pace and his eye for a goal would be a real benefit to the Arsenal team and I would be quite happy to see him sign for Arsenal.
Ricky Alvarez is another target for Arsenal if the reports in The Mirror are to be believed, but I would be surprised if he was signed. He suffered a knee injury early in his career, and he has very few senior games to his name for a 23 year old. If Arsenal are to sign him it would be based solely on his perceived potential, and they have enough players with potential in their squad already.
I haven't seen too much of Alvarez, but he is far too inexperienced to be expected to make an immediate impact in the Premier League. If Arsenal are going to have a chance of winning trophies again they need to sign players who are the real deal, and I don't think Alvarez is anywhere near that level yet. I can't imagine that he would be signed if Mata joins, but Arsene Wenger needs to keep his options open which is probably the reason why he is interested in Alvarez.
Gervinho has been another target for Arsenal for the last few weeks at least, and according to The Mirror again he will be coming to the club very soon. He has had a very good season in France with Lille, as his goals and assists helped them to a domestic double. His club claim not to have received any concrete offers yet, and with Champions League football next season they will be anxious to keep their best players.
Eden Hazard was another star of that Lille team along with Gervinho, and I think he would be a far better choice for Arsenal this summer. However, it seems like Lille are more determined to keep Hazard, and Arsenal might have to settle for Gervinho instead. Like Alvarez I don't know if he will be good enough to prosper in the Premier League, but at least he has a lot more experience than Alvarez.
Gervinho is probably the most likely of the three attacking players to be signed by Arsenal, as Wenger has a long history of signing players from France. Like both Mata and Alvarez he can play on the left side of the front three or in midfield and it would appear all three might be lined up as potential players to replace Nasri. If I had to choose between them I think Mata would be the best player, but Gervinho is a much better option than Alvarez.
Gary Cahill has only one year left on his contract at Bolton Wanderers, and if the reports in The London Evening Standard are to be believed he is eventually going to sign for Arsenal. Arsenal's defensive woes from set pieces were well chronicled last season, and Cahill could possibly be the man to cure those problems. Arsenal aren't the only team interested in Cahill and if a bidding war ensues it could end anywhere.
Arsenal could sign Cahill on a free transfer next summer and use the money to buy a defender from elsewhere this year. I would be very surprised if Wenger broke Arsenal's transfer record to sign Cahill, but if he feels he is the right man for Arsenal he will pursue him. If Cahill can become the man to win headers and marshall Arsenal's defence at set pieces it will be money well spent.
Christopher Samba has been linked with Arsenal for quite a while now, as their need for a central defender with Premier League experience is well known. The Lancashire Telegraph is the latest paper to report Arsenal's interest in the player, and apparently they're not the only ones prepared to take a chance on him. Like Cahill he is seen as a ball winning centre back, and his height would be a real boost for Arsenal's inability to defend set pieces.
He's 27 years old which means he's at the prime of his career for the next few years, and Arsenal need players who are in their prime. If Arsenal can sort out their defensive problems from set pieces they can expect to have a real chance of winning trophies next season. Samba has the necessary attributes to sort out those problems, but whether he possesses the skill or pace to play against the top teams is another matter.
I would be reasonably happy if Arsenal signed either Cahill or Samba, but if Wenger can find an experienced international centre back I think he won't sign either of them. It's not an easy task for him, but I'm sure he has his scouts searching for the player he needs. Neither Cahill or Samba has any Champions League experience and internationally they're not exactly experienced either which will probably lessen their chances of signing for Arsenal.
Of all the transfer rumours for Arsenal so far this summer I think they are the five players most likely to sign, but I would be surprised if Wenger signs so many players. There have been just as many rumours about players leaving Arsenal, but they're something to deal with on another day.
Arsenal have some very serious business to do in the transfer window, and if they're not careful their team could emerge in a much weaker position. The additions of some defenders might help to strengthen the team, but if both Nasri and Cesc leave it will seriously affect the team's attacking capabilities. Some of the players linked to them have plenty of potential, but I do not consider any of them to be a match for either of those players.
There are plenty of Arsenal fans who feel both Nasri and Cesc should be sold, as they have not shown loyalty to the club in their opinions. If Arsenal sell those two players and replace them with Mata, Alvarez, and Gervinho I cannot see how it will do anything but make the team worse. They would be selling two players approaching their prime, and replacing them with potential.
The current opinion among Arsenal fans is the club needs to replace potential with the finished article, but those three attacking players would all be the opposite of that. I sincerely hope both Cesc and Nasri stay, but if they are sold Arsenal need to replace them with real quality. I will only be really excited about potential signings when the players linked are good enough to improve the team.
That's it for today.
Here's a look at what Mata can do.
See You Tomorrow.
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