Arsene Wenger has been given the green light to pursue big targets in the transfer window this summer, and has lined up four key targets for different areas of his squad.
The Frenchman is keen for Arsenal to challenge for silverware again, and the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis has also suggested in a recent meeting with shareholders that a scramble for fourth place is not good enough.
The Gunners have been weak in defence for a number of years, and will look to solve this with the £10million signing of Swansea City goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who has been in fine form since moving to the Premier League in 2011.
The Dutchman had also emerged as a target for Liverpool, who are now managed by his former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers, though they may have cooled their interest with the news that current first-choice ‘keeper Pepe Reina is set to remain at Anfield.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has previously said he will have to sell before he can buy this summer, and may see £10million as an acceptable offer for a goalkeeper, as the club have able backup in Gerhard Tremmel, who impressed in his run in the team this season during Vorm’s spell out injured.
Arsenal will also renew their interest in Manchester City right-back Micah Richards, as they prepare for the summer departure of Bacary Sagna to PSG. The Gunners have youngster Carl Jenkinson in reserve, but Wenger does not yet feel he is ready to be a regular starter, and will look to Richards, who is understood to be unhappy with his backup role at the Etihad Stadium.
The England international has fallen down the pecking order at the club, and may decide to leave despite being in talks over a new contract. City will not be keen to sell him to a rival, however, and will ask for about £13million for the 24-year-old.
Wenger will also look to improve further up the pitch, with the big-name signings of Marouane Fellaini and Gonzalo Higuain. Everton midfielder Fellaini would provide some much-needed physicality to Arsenal’s engine room, which has looked somewhat lightweight since the sale of Alex Song to Barcelona last summer. The Gunners have supposedly activated his release clause with an offer of £22million.
Arsenal may still face competition for Fellaini however, as former Everton boss David Moyes is still keen on bringing the Belgian to his new club Manchester United, though he is also considering other targets.
Finally, Arsenal will meet Real Madrid’s demands and cough up £25million for Higuain. Wenger is said to have held positive talks with the player himself, but an opening offer of £22million was rejected by the Spanish giants. The Gunners boss has reluctantly broken his transfer policy to sign this talented goal-getter for big money, as he believes the Argentine’s finishing ability can be the final touch to take the team forward again.
Higuain’s move will not be confirmed until Madrid appoint a new manager, who may or may not approve the deal, though it seems likely that the 25-year-old will be allowed to leave after expressing a desire to move on and being persuaded to join Arsenal by Wenger.