WTTGT Writer: Martin Lindsay
The close season is always a time of year for the football transfer rumours to dominate the headlines. Fans across the world find themselves hooked to all media outputs to hear the latest on their respective teams, eagerly waiting to hear of any ins-and-outs in the build up to the new season.
For all the transfer window brings a lot of excitement for the outsider, this time of year can be a very stressful for a football manager as they do their utmost to prepare a squad ready for the coming campaign.
After an end of season collapse last term, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger will have short-listed a number of targets he aims to bring to the Emirates. However, with speculation rife about the futures of his own players, this could prove to be a very difficult summer for the Frenchman.
Arsenal undoubtedly have a squad capable of competing at the business end of the Premier League, but as recent history has shown new recruits are required if the club want to go back to making a genuine title challenge.
The Gunners again fell short at the final hurdle, but to say they are in need of an overhaul would be wide of the mark. Wenger will know in himself what is required, however after years of buying from the lesser leagues of Europe now is the time for Arsenal to make their mark on the transfer market.
The north London outfit are strongly linked with Lille forward Gervinho, however Newcastle are also keen on the Ivory Coast international.
The signing of Gervinho, 24, would warrant a fee in excess of the £10m mark, an asking price that shouldn’t be too off putting for Arsenal given the striker’s age.
The arrival of the Ivorian may bring a lift to the club, but it’s going to take more than signing an unproven forward to lift Arsenal back to the summit of English football.
Numerous acquisitions are key this summer. Well established, experienced players are a necessity, given this Arsenal side’s inexperience in lifting silverware.
The signings of some of football’s so-called ‘winners’ isn’t Wenger’s only priority after reports emerged this week of midfielder Samir Nasri’s reluctance to sign a new contract.
A player who took the Premier League by storm last season, Nasri has taken his game to the next level. To lose a player of Nasri’s calibre would be a blow for any team, but with the expected departure of captain Cesc Fabregas this summer, this will prove to be a crucial close season for Arsenal.
Keeping the likes of Fabregas and Nasri are vital to Arsenal’s success. To lose two world class midfielders in quick succession would be too bigger blow for a side that weren’t capable of maintaining a title challenge as they are.
If Wenger can persuade his prize assets to remain at the Emirates, he will already have a nucleus of a side worthy of pushing Manchester United and Chelsea with some noted additions.
Who Wenger chooses to add to his squad will determine his side’s fate, and potentially his own. If he spends big and targets the elite market, then he will be in possession of a side capable of winning a first trophy in six years. If, though, he is a victim of key departures and fails to attract top names then Arsenal, fans can unfortunately expect another ‘nearly’ season ahead of them.