NRM #1: The First Edition
Get ready Arsenal fans - the rumour mill is about to spiral out of control. After defeating Wigan Athletic midweek, the Gunners now control their own Champions League fate for next term as they sit in fourth place (20-10-7, 70 points) one point clear of Spurs (20-9-8, 69 points). With improved commercial deals and Arsenal threatening to flex their long-promised financial muscle Gooners can expect an influx of rumours and signings to flood the rumour mill this summer should Wenger secure another consecutive season in Europe's most coveted competition.
We start with Yaya Sanogo. Sanogo is probably the wrong Yaya for a lot of Gooners but this young French centre-forward is strong and quick, similar to Benteke but has an excellent first touch and a burst of explosive speed so is little bit in the middle of Giroud and Walcott. Currently plying his trade in Ligue 2 the Auxerre forward is out of contract at the end of the season and Arsène Wenger all but confirmed he was signing for Arsenal. Sanogo honed his technical skills as a child at CO Les Ulis, the same side Thierry Henry started his journey at and Arsenal supporters will be very happy if he turns out to be half the player.
Arsenal fans won't be happy with a summer of just relatively unknown youngsters so the link with Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina must make Gooners very happy indeed. Not only because the striker is 23 and is an immediate as well as long-term prospect, but also because of his promising goal-scoring mentality. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott have taken some of the scoring burden this season; however, proportionately not nearly enough as Santi Cazorla who has been lighting opponents up from the midfield. Jovetic may be Arsenal's best option this summer as longevity is by his side - not to mention his potency in front of net and at 6ft the Fiorentina man would offer additional physicality going forward. "Jo-jo" would provide an improved threat in the air - a trait that Giroud has failed to display to great effect thus far. If this fearless finisher can find his way to the Emirates this summer - a push for the title could be once again, in order.
Pep Guardiola has supposedly set his sights on Jack Wilshere and Arsenal supporters will be hoping this rumour dies off quickly. The 21 year old England international may not have carved up opposition defences this season as often as the North London faithful would have liked but he has plenty of ability moving forward nonetheless. In the Invincible season Arsenal were successfully able to retain possession in the midfield through technical ability and sheer strength with the likes of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Although Jack is not a real physical threat just yet he is able to hold his own and Wenger will want to do all he can to keep hold of this gem.
Enough talk with attacking options let's take a look at what the rumour mill has in store for what has long been considered Arsenal's weak link - defence.
With what seems to be an astronomical amount allotted for transfers this summer (somewhere in the range of £70 million) Arsenal could be in line to sign Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek. Bacary Sagna's willingness to get back and defend has often come into question this season and with his contract set to expire in 2014 and recent comments regarding PSG it could be time to start looking for a replacement. Piszczek is a tackling master who also carries the possession based mentality of Arsenal and boasts a pass competition rate of around 80%. Impressive right? The positives do not stop there with the Polish defender who could work offer superb balance with the newly acquired Nacho Monreal - both of whom fulfil their defensive duties superbly. Monreal and Piszczek could offer what Lauren and Ashley Cole offered to the Invincibles years - speed, tenacity and moreover willingness to get up and down the flanks defending and attacking with venom and passion.
Lastly, we take a pit stop to have a look at the Wayne Rooney rumours. After Bayern Munich made it quite clear that Rooney was not amongst their potential transfers for this summer (and rightly so) it seems Rooney's destination will be in France or England. So could Wenger really make a move to take Rooney to the Emirates? Unlikely, David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson, who will likely be lurking in the shadows controlling things from afar, wouldn't allow a player of Wayne's calibre to strengthen a domestic rival. However, football is unpredictable and stranger things have happened and who knows, Rooney could be chomping at the bit to make a move to Arsenal this summer and resume a sole striker role that was taken from him at United upon the arrival of a certain ex-Arsenal man.
Is Rooney realistically what Wenger's squad needs? Probably not but as statement he would be a powerful message. Certainly the potential partnership of Walcott and Rooney could be lethal and Wenger may feel he can get Rooney back to his best. Though I would argue that David Moyes would be placing the England international on top of his keep list having lost Rooney to United in 2004. Either way there are more potent striking options to be laid on the rumour mill this summer
No rumours should be thrown out the window just yet and who wouldn't want to play alongside some of the best young talents in the world? Wenger has put together a very solid squad whom all have the ability to move forward, gain and retain the coveted Premier League crown in the coming seasons. What it comes down to, is whether or not Arsenal will sign the right players for their aims this summer.
Step one to securing some of these aforementioned big-name players: qualify for the Champions League.Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?
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