Arsenal

Arsenal Transfer News: Megastars Rumoured to Be on Arsene Wenger's Wish List

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on February 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

Arsene Wenger will be overjoyed to see Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell playing such fine football at the World Cup for France and Costa Rica, respectively, but a long chain of forwards remain linked with a move to the Emirates this summer.

It was a very evident weakness in the Gunners' 2013-14 campaign that their lack of depth in attack came undone in the latter half of the season, making it clear that renewed options will be required in time for next term.

Having won the FA Cup, Wenger has now alleviated some of the pressure on his side to win silverware, but reinforcements will nonetheless be required if the north Londoners are to challenge for titles once again in 2014-15.

Here, we discuss some of the latest speculation surrounding those superstar talents associated with an Arsenal move.

 

Mario Mandzukic, Bayern Munich

MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 18:  Mario Mandzukic of Croatia celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match between Cameroon and Croatia at Arena Amazonia on June 18, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Ge
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Mario Mandzukic proved his own quality in Brazil this past week after missing the fixture against Brazil through suspension, scoring twice against Cameroon in his international return.

According to German newspaper Die Welt (h/t Daily Star's Colin Harvey), Arsenal may have to count themselves out of the race for the Bayern Munich man's services, however, with former club Wolfsburg allegedly assuming pole position in the hunt for his signature.

Opta Johan tells us that Mandzukic's brace was a landmark achievement for a Croat, but Malky Mackay told BBC Radio 5Live that there wasn't much reason to be excited at one of the striker's goals, handed to him by Cameroon's No. 1:

Wolfsburg have an edge in that Mandzukic would be returning to Lower Saxony as his former abode, but one could well argue that the attacker is capable of moving to a bigger club, giving Arsenal a glimmer of hope in luring the player to England.

 

Mario Balotelli, Milan

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 20:  Mario Balotelli of Italy reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Costa Rica at Arena Pernambuco on June 20, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arsenal have supposedly been told that Milan striker Mario Balotelli can be theirs for £29.5 million, according to Sky Italia (h/t Express' Anthony Chapman), after agent Mino Raiola sanctioned the deal with Rossoneri president Adriano Galliani.

Last week, Raiola was quoted in opening up the possibility of his client moving to the Emirates, per John Cross of the Mirror:

Arsenal is a fantastic club in London. Only 10 clubs in the world maximum could afford Mario - like all premium players - and he is one of the greatest.

I won’t make any further comment until after the transfer window closes.

Balotelli has risen as one of Wenger's chief targets this summer, it appears, and it will be of some interest to see if the Frenchman can restrain the bad-boy reputation that Italy's striking force has become renowned for, should a move materialise.

 

Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Jan Vertonghen of Spurs is challenged by Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on March 8, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Ros
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Away from the offensive needs in north London, one very surprising defensive asset supposedly being considered by Arsenal this summer is Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Metro (h/t Mirror's Alex Richards) claims that a fee as low as £7 million could be enough to see the 30-year-old Serbian depart Stamford Bridge, a shockingly low figure considering how consistent a force Ivanovic has been for the Blues in recent years.

Depending on the recruitments Jose Mourinho makes this summer, The Guardian's Dominic Fifield suggests that Ivanovic could be as low as fourth in Chelsea's centre-back pecking order next term, with John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma all ahead:

Out-of-favour Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen has been closely linked with a move to Manchester United of late, but Metro's Hannah Duncan quotes the Belgian in playing down any talk of an exit:

I know there has been a lot of talk and a lot of rumours but the only thing I can say is that it’s not true. Everybody understands my situation at Arsenal and that I have one year left.

I understand that people are going to talk but I am here in Brazil and I am enjoying my time and I’m focused on what I am doing. We [Vermaelen and Wenger] talk a lot when I am at Arsenal but it’s not what I am going to discuss here, it is something you are going to have to ask him.

Should Vermaelen exit the club, Ivanovic would be an adept, experienced and equally versatile asset in that he can fill in at centre-back and right-back. 

However, at 30 years of age, his acquisition could go against the template of buying young that Wenger has always looked to promote throughout his managerial career.

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