Nervous Arsenal hope Real keeper will spark influx of signings
As the panic alarm is sounded around camp Arsenal, Arsene Wenger resorts to scatter gun tactics in order to appease the clubs irate fans and bring in a few new players.
The under-fire French coach has just under two weeks to dip into the Gunners’ alleged £85m war chest after the flaws in his current squad were highlighted in their shock opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa.
After seeing their wafer-thin squad take a physical beating as well as an egotistical one, there’ll be plenty of punters swerving Arsenal’s 17/10 to win at Fenerbahce in their crucial Champions League play-off tie. Their failure to dispose of the Turks over two legs will have a massive say in their ability to lure the latest rumoured target to the Emirates.
After being frozen out by Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas is next on Wenger’s hitlist. The Gunners have needed a goalkeeper since Jens Lehmann left, but acquiring this one is surely a little above their station, even if the World Cup winner remained on the sidelines for Carlo Ancelotti’s first match in charge of the Spaniards.
His wage demands, for a kick off, would make Wenger balk, but that’s only a hurdle they can fall at if Los Merengues accept the breathtakingly low bid the stingy north Londoners are likely to put in for him.
A reported £15m is the fee Real require, though Wenger is prepared to offer just over half of that at £8m given the stopper’s 32 years of age.
Still, the club remain rated at 7/4 to bring in a new keeper this window, with Wojciech Szczesney’s howler-prone game finally (it’s only taken three years) believed to have worn Wenger’s patience to breaking point.
A more attainable target would be QPR’s Brazilian international Julio Cesar, who is keen to return to the top flight in order to maintain his occupancy of his country’s number one jersey ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
The R’s keeper is one of numerous players linked with a move to the Emirates but, as time runs out and no new arrivals materialise, the more the summer shapes up like the 2011/12 season.
Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos were all signed in a flap at the end of that window and another flurry of late signings is fancied again with Ladbrokes pricing up three being the total number of incomings at Arsenal as 7/4, with 2/1 on offer for four-plus.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date