Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner are both attracting interest from two of Serie A’s biggest clubs just six days before Arsenal start their Premier League campaign at home to Sunderland.
The Gunners endured a dismal first two months to the previous campaign after being hamstrung by confusion over whether Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri would be leaving and the delay in recruiting replacements.
The shrewd and swift signings of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla indicated that such a mess would be avoided this year and sees them rated some way ahead of last term’s rivals Spurs and Newcastle at 8/13 for a top-four finish.
However, Robin van Persie’s unresolved future coupled with claims that Walcott will follow his captain in refusing to extend a contract expiring next summer, not to mention talk that Barcelona want Alex Song threaten to have a destabilising effect.
The positive aspect of the Walcott speculation has been that no team of a similar or greater standing to Arsenal had been linked, with leading suitors Liverpool unlikely to outperform Arsene Wenger’s men in 2012/13 as things stand.
The latest reports that Inter are keen on the England winger are more intriguing as the Nerazzurri attempt to capitalise on AC Milan’s star sale and Juventus coach Antonio Conte’s ten-month ban by re-emerging as Serie A’s strongest side.
They don’t have Champions League football to offer this season though, so the likelihood is that – were an approach to arrive – Walcott would conclude that he is better off at Arsenal at present.
More intriguing is the suggestion that AC Milan are so determined to add Nicklas Bendtner, who Wenger is happy to sell, to their depleted squad that they are willing to send French Euro 2012 starter Philippe Mexes in part exchange.
The centre back is one of their higher earners and, though they have lost Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva in that position, they are prepared to sacrifice him to help reduce the wage bill.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.