Arsenal had a strong end to the season after having started it with one of the worst starts in their history. The Gunners finished third behind the two Manchester clubs, but had to rely heavily on Robin van Persie’s goals.
This summer, Arsenal have already strengthen their attack by signing the likes of Lukas Podolshi & Oliver Giroud from FC Koln and Montpellier respectively, but they are set to lose their talismanic skipper after he announced yesterday that he has decided against signing a new contract. Arsene Wenger will have to dip in the transfer market and buy some players not only to replace Van Persie but also Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who left the club last summer. Here are Arsenal’s potential summer transfer targets..
HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club are ready to listen to offers for the France skipper Hugo Lloris, who is valued around €20m. With Wojciech Szczesny highly inconsistent and a bit less experienced, Lloris would be a great signing for the Gunners but they face some competition from a host of European clubs like Tottenham, Liverpool and AC Milan.
EMILIANO VIVIANO – PALERMO (GOALKEEPER)
With Manuel Almunia having left the Emirates and Lukasz Fabianski not interested in staying Szczesny’s deputy, Wenger has targeted the 26-year-old Palermo stopper Emiliano Viviano – who is co-owned by Inter Milan – as a possible cover. Neither club view him as a potential first choice for the new season, so his agent has been told he can negotiate a transfer. Fiorentina have also expressed a firm interest in Viviano along with some other Serie A clubs.
MAPOU YANGA-MBIWA – MONTPELLIER (DEFENDER)
The 23-year-old is another defender from Ligue 1 linked with the Gunners this season. Yanga-Mbiwa captained Montpellier to the title this season and was their stalwart in defence. The Montpellier skipper would be a very useful signing for Arsenal as they lack some strong backup for Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. It has been suggested the player would cost in the region of £13m.
ABDOU KADER MANGANE – RENNES (DEFENDER)
Abou Kader Mangane, the 29-year-old Senegalese defender who Wenger has previously shown interest in, is another potential transfer target for the Gunners. The 6ft 4in Rennes centre-back will be a major physical presence at the back and will cost around £4-5m. He has also been linked with the likes of Sunderland and Everton in the past.
YANN M’VILA – RENNES (MIDFIELDER)
The 21-year-old will be a perfect signing for the Gunners and will be a rock alongside Alex Song in the midfield. With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri having left last summer, the Gunners need some quality players in the midfield and M’Vila is surely one of those. Arsenal were once reported to be in ‘advanced negotiations’ with Rennes for the defensive midfielder’s services but nothing has progressed since then. The French international who has been capped 22 times would cost in the region of £20m.
LUCAS BIGLIA – ANDERLECHT (MIDFIELDER)
The experience midfielder is a second choice option for Arsene Wenger behind M’Vila. The 26-year-old Argentine international, who has 6 caps to his name, guided Anderlecht to their second consecutive Belgium league title this season. At just £8m asking price, Wenger may go for the cheaper option.
YOUNES BELHANDA – MONTPELLIER (MIDFIELDER)
The 22-year-old Moroccan is one of the upcoming stars in European football having helped Montpellier win their first ever Ligue 1 title. Belhanda was the standout performer scoring 12 goals and assisting 4 times in 28 matches. Wenger has expressed his interest in the versatile winger, who is rated in the region of £15m, but will face some competition from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid.
ALAN DZAGOEV – CSKA MOSCOW (MIDFIELDER)
The 22-year-old had an outstanding UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and was the join top goalscorer with three goals. The Russian international, who can play anywhere behind the striker, is valued at £13m by CSKA but with just six-months left on his contract, the Russians may be forced to accept a lower asking price or lose him for nothing.
DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)
The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Van Persie expected to leave, Wenger might try and sign the 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – but will face some tough competition for his signature from Tottenham, who have also expressed their interest in him.
SALOMON KALOU – FREE AGENT (STRIKER)
According to some reports in the England, Arsenal are interested in the former Chelsea forward who has a lot of Premier League experience and a Champions League winners medal to his name. Kalou is for free but will demand high wages and regular first team football. The Gunners will also face some stiff competition for his services from the likes of Lille, Schalke and Premier League rivals Liverpool.
KLAAS-JAN HUNTELAAR – SCHALKE (STRIKER)
The 28-year-old Dutchman, who has a €20m release clause in his contract, will be a ready-made replacement for his fellow Dutch teammate Robin van Persie at Arsenal. The Schalke hitman who has been on Arsenal’s radar for quite some time now, scored 29 times in 32 Bundesliga matches last season as his club finished third. The former Ajax striker is back to his best following disappointing spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan and will be hoping to try his trade in the Premier League.
SALOMON RANDON – MALAGA (STRIKER)
Randon is not very known outside Spain, but the Venezuelan striker is very highly-rated and was Malaga’s top goalscorer this season. According to the papers in Spain, Arsenal are preparing a £10m bid for him as they look to replace Robin van Persie, but at the same time Chelsea are also interested in him and want him as a cover for Fernando Torres.