Arsenal planning to make La Liga star their big summer signing

The football close-season can be a frustrating time for fans. With no action to watch and only transfers to excite them as they wait for the start of the new campaign, their mood is very much governed by their club’s activity.

Being an Arsenal fan last summer was therefore understandably frustrating. The only arrival in that time, as has become a regular punchline, was former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Although many believed Arsene Wenger needed to bring in a couple of outfield players of note, the Frenchman’s staunch resistance looks somewhat justified with the north Londoners second in the Premier League and two points off Manchester City.

That doesn’t mean, however, that next summer will be another quiet period for the club. Gossip columns around the country suggest the Gunners will look to make a long-awaited splash in the transfer market, with Atletico Madrid man Antoine Griezmann the target.

Of course, rumours linking Arsenal with high-class players of the Frenchman’s ilk have proved fictional before. Karim Benzema was often mentioned in the same breath as a move to the Emirates last summer, but never actually came close to signing.

With Spanish publication Fichajes sprouting this latest link excitement levels should remain tempered, especially as its report suggests Wenger wants the deal done before Euro 2016.

Griezmann will cost a pretty penny this summer. Transfermarkt already value him at £31.5m and the former Real Sociedad man looks like he is on the cusp of a superb season having scored five goals and registered four assists in his nine all-competition outings thus far.

He has a contract with Atletico Madrid until June 2020 and is quickly establishing himself as the club’s leading light, which will only drive up his price further.

Nabbing his man before the start of a major tournament also seems ambitious from Wenger, with the striker sure to be a key part of France’s squad for a competition that they are hosting.

It would be no surprise to hear Griezmann spout off a regular cliché of dealing with his club future once Euro 2016 is over, although with five years to run on his deal it’s an even bigger certainty that the topic never comes up for discussion.

After their 3-0 win over Watford last time out, the Gunners are 23/10 to win the Premier League with Ladbrokes.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.