Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Need Busy Summer to Compete in Premier League

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

FILE - In this Saturday, May 17, 2014 file photo, Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger punches the air in celebration of their win against Hull City at the end of their English FA Cup final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has signed a three-year deal with the Premier League club, keeping him at the Emirates Stadium until 2017. The new deal was announced by Arsenal on Friday and will take Wenger into his 21st year at the club, where he has been in charge since 1996. The 64-year-old Frenchman won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in the first half of his Arsenal tenure, but failed to capture a trophy in nine years until winning this season's FA Cup. Wenger has guided the London side into the Champions League for 17 consecutive seasons and is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, file)
Sang Tan/Associated Press

Club officials claim Arsenal will be active during the summer transfer window, and they will have to keep that promise if the club wish to compete for the Premier League title in 2014-15.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis told Arsenal supporters at a Q&A session that the Gunners are already "in talks" with several transfer targets and that he was confident the club would add to their squad:

Transfers are obviously important and we are deep in conversations already. I am confident we will add what we need this summer.

The manager is not scared to spend, has the experience, but as always will have to juggle a set budget.

We are all really pleased with securing Champions League qualification again. Last season was a great experience for players to win the FA Cup and now we want more.

While Gazidis refused to elaborate on potential targets, the message that the club are deep into talks with potential targets is one that should be music to the ears of Gunners fans.

It's also a message they've heard before. Arsene Wenger is known as a reluctant man when it comes to transfer dealings, to the point where fan blogs like have devoted entire articles to the subject of figuring out why.

Arsenal have one of the financially healthiest transfer philosophies of all major Premier League clubs, and Wenger's knack of finding young talent to groom into class players is one of his best qualities.

But in the age of big-money clubs, financial takeovers and oil tycoons making a mockery of Financial Fair Play, as reported by Sky Sports, clubs who don't spend usually don't top the standings at the end of the season.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The Gunners last won the Premier League title in 2004, and while their consistent presence in the league's top four is worthy of praise, fans are aching for more.

The 2013-14 season started with a bang for the Arsenal with the arrival of Mesut Ozil. They were the front-runners for the title for much of the season, but things started to unravel right after the January transfer window.

A rough schedule in March and bad luck with the UEFA Champions League draw briefly had the club in danger of missing out on the top four, a steep drop from the excellent position the Gunners found themselves in just months before.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal grabs Olivier Giroud of Arsenal  during the FA Cup with Budweiser Final match between Arsenal and Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Ima
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Talent wasn't the main culprit, and their Premier League freefall wasn't the result of the squad overachieving in the months prior. Aaron Ramsey had a strong breakout campaign, Olivier Giroud established himself as a solid option up front and Laurent Koscielny staked his claim as perhaps the best centre-back in the country.

Rather, injuries to Ramsey and Ozil took away much of the creativity the club needed in the centre of the pitch, and the Gunners lacked the depth to deal with those injuries.

Clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea are driven by superstar players like Yaya Toure and Eden Hazard, but they also have the depth to continue winning in their absence. Arsenal simply don't. I'm sure Kim Kallstrom is a solid player, but asking him to be an adequate replacement for Ramsey simply isn't an option.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04:  Kim Kallstrom of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromich Albion at Emirates Stadium on May 4, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Going into the summer of 2014, Arsenal have few major needs in their starting XI. Bacary Sagna will have to be replaced, and the club could do with an upgrade at both striker and defensive midfielder, but as we saw at the start of last season, those positions can be filled internally.

Instead, the Gunners should spend for depth, and spend big. Over the course of a full Premier League season and with the added strain of Champions League football, clubs need to protect themselves against inevitable injuries.

Forget about Cesc Fabregas. Marca's Luis F. Rojo reports that his ship has sailed, as the former team captain will be playing in Chelsea Blue next season:

According to Sky Sports, Serge Aurier and Alvaro Morata are mentioned as two targets who could be on their way to the Emirates. Both are young, useful options who could have a big future if properly developed.

Moving for both would be a good start, but it wouldn't be enough. A strong second option in goal, depth in midfield and someone to fill in on the wing are all needed if the club is serious about pushing for the title next season.

Gazidis says Arsenal want more. If that is the case, they will have to spend more. It's the only way to keep up with clubs like City and Chelsea, and in light of how last season ended, it's the only logical move.



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