How Arsene Wenger should spend Arsenal’s £100m transfer kitty
After finally leading Arsenal to a first trophy in nine years following the dramatic FA Cup final win over Hull, Arsene Wenger looks set to sign a new three-year contract at the Emirates and – according to well-placed whispers – will be given £100m to spend this summer.
The man they call ‘Le Professeur’ in the red half of north London – when they’re not hollering at him to spend some money – will need every penny if he is to bridge the gap between his side and the 2013/14 top three, and win the Premier League for the first time since 2004 next year at 9/1.
However, the core of a very useful team ensured Arsenal stayed at the top of the table for longer than all the other clubs combined this season and with the Gunners finishing the campaign just seven points off champions Manchester City – and only three behind Chelsea – emphasis should be placed on quality over quantity this summer.
With Bacary Sagna looking ever more likely to leave the club on a free transfer, Wenger will be expected to move for a new right-back, even though Essex boy Carl Jenkinson did little wrong in a red shirt when called upon this term.
Arsenal’s win rate with the 22-year-old on from the start was actually higher in 2013/14 than when Jenkinson was omitted and he should be given the chance to prove himself a capable replacement for the wantaway France international.
On the other side of defence, Kieran Gibbs’ place may be under threat after a difficult term for the three-cap England man, who is only considered Roy Hodgson’s third-choice in the position at best now that Ashley Cole has retired.
Gibbs was clinically targeted by Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola in the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League loss to the Bavarians, with the FCB boss deploying Germany pace-merchant Mario Gotze to run at the former Wimbledon youth, with some success.
A decent slice of the £100m could be used to compete with Manchester United and – possibly – Chelsea for Southampton’s Luke Shaw, who, unlike Gibbs, will go to the World Cup with Hodgson’s 33/1 tournament outsiders.
FC Bayern holding-midfielder Javi Martinez has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Mathieu Flamini and/or Mikel Arteta, and the Spaniard is the calibre of signing Wenger must make if Arsenal are to improve, but the Bundesliga champions paid Athletic Bilbao £36m for him less than two years ago, so would expect a similar figure to dispense of his services.
Moves for Martinez and Shaw could leave the Gunners with the best part of £35m to spend on a striker, and while Schalke’s Julian Draxler doesn’t quite fit that bill – as one of Germany’s myriad of attacking-midfielders – the 6ft 2in 20-year-old is thought of by many as a centre-forward in waiting.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with Draxler for nine months and are reportedly keen for him to make a Thierry Henry-esque conversion from winger to striker, should they sign him.
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