Few teams have been the subject of more transfer rumours since the end of the season than Arsenal. It seems as though half of the top talents in the world have been linked to the club, and there is the palatable sense that the club will spend some serious scratch to improve before next year.
Still, rumours are rumours, and some are far more believable than others. So with that in mind, I've compiled three recent rumours to see which made sense and which felt contrived.
It's the silly season in Europe as the rumours fly fast and furious. Let's see which ones are feasible for the Gunners.
Gonzalo Higuain, Ilkay Gundogan and Lars Bender
The Rumour: From Rob Draper of the Daily Mail:
Arsene Wenger is ready to smash Arsenal's transfer record this week with bids for three of Europe's fastest-rising stars.
The news that the club are thinking big, with moves for Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain, Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan and Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender, will come as a massive relief to Arsenal fans after years of frugality and summers of losing their own stars.
Analysis: Gonzalo Higuain, who has been linked with Arsenal for the better part of a month now, is the sort of poacher in the box this team really lacked last season after Robin van Persie headed off to Manchester United, so that rumor seems perfectly logical.
I expect he'll be a Gunner this summer.
Ilkay Gundogan would be a shocker, however. He was one of Dortmund's best players this season, and it seems unlikely the club would let him go during the same summer that Mario Goetze was pried from the team by Bayern Munich.
Obviously, Arsenal have a huge need for a defensive midfielder, so Gundogan and Lars Bender would make sense, but how realistic are the prospects of either one joining the club?
Verdict: Higuain seems likely to happen, Bender seems like a logical target for the Gunners and I cannot imagine Gundogan leaving Borussia Dortmund for Arsenal or the German side letting him go.
The Rumour: From ESPN:
Arsenal have activated a release clause in Marouane Fellaini's Everton contract, according to reports.
It is understood the Belgian midfielder can leave Merseyside for £22 million for a club qualified for the Champions League—or £24m for teams outside the top four.
Analysis: I think this move would make perfect sense for Arsenal. Marouane Fellaini could play a more defensive role for the Gunners, which he seems to prefer, and make barreling runs forward to join the attack. He would give the team another weapon in the box, and if Arsenal add another defensive mid, he could play a box-to-box role.
I really don't see any downside here. The only question is if Fellaini would play for the Gunners.
Verdict: I still think Manchester United is the most likely club to secure Fellaini's services, but the Gunners would make a ton of sense for him stylistically, and he would be a brilliant addition to the midfield. I'm keeping my fingers crossed here, but I think the Red Devils are in his future.
The Rumour: From Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail:
Wayne Rooney remains Arsenal's dream signing this summer after chief executive Ivan Gazidis gave the green light to mammoth summer spree.
Sportsmail exclusively revealed last month how the Gunners were prepared to smash through all their financial boundaries to land Rooney this summer.
Arsenal hope a package of around £170,000-per-week and a multi-million pound signing on fee—plus the security of a five year contract—could persuade Rooney to take a pay cut from his current £250,000-per-week deal at Old Trafford, that has two years left to run.
Analysis: While it makes total sense from a footballing perspective, Wayne Rooney is never going to take a cut in pay, and Arsenal won't match his Manchester United wages.
Verdict: This is not going to happen. It would be a dream come true, but it's honestly just a pipe dream.