Arsenal flying in under the radar early in transfer market
Arsene Wenger has opted to act early in the summer transfer market, going by the timing of his signings last year.
The Frenchman has already closed one deal in bringing Lukas Podolski, 27, to the Emirates and has two other strong negotiations in the pot with French stars Olivier Giroud and Yann M’Vila.
The German international signed a four-year deal with the Gunners for an estimated £10.9 million.
The Giroud deal is further along the line than the M’Vila talks with Montpellier deputy president Laurent Nicollin.
The 6ft 3in striker has impressed this term in a season that saw Montpellier lift the Ligue 1 title, in spite of a stringent economic strategy.
Players like Giroud were only getting paid an estimated £15,000 per week, but the club attracted enough good players to see off the mega-rich Paris Saint-Germain.
Giroud, 25, played a pivotal part, scoring 25 goals and 11 assists which saw him selected for the French national squad for the on-going European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Should the Giroud – touted to be £13 million – deal go through, Wenger would be expected to finally get rid of Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and possibly Park Chu-Young.
The North London club also want fellow French international Yann M’Vila, 21.
He has played 20 times for his country and seems interested in a move to England.
He said: “I have heard Arsenal are interested in me. I like Arsenal, and I like the Premier League.”
It is thought the defensive midfielder would cost the Gunners between £15 million and £17 million, but Wenger will try to negotiate the French club downwards of this figure, as is his style.
It is hard to forget that Robin Van Persie still needs to be tied down to a new contract, in spite of all this transfer talk.
Juventus have been leading the chase for the Dutch sharpshooter, but Wenger recently scoffed at this transfer link.
He said: “Your football (Serie A) is at an inferior standard to the Premier League.
Adding to an Italian journalist: “If he moves there, I will buy you a caramello.”
And with Van Persie back in London earlier than expected after an early Euro exit, Wenger should now have more time to construct a contract with his captain.
This leaves Arsenal with only a couple more issues to contemplate.
Do they get in a replacement for Bacary Sagna, whose broken leg will prevent him from starting the beginning of the season? Or does Wenger see young Carl Jenkinson as ready? Or will he even consider the inconvenience of moving Laurent Koscielny across the back four until Sagna’s return?
Arsenal appear to have missed the boat on Jan Vertonghen, but will still be after a centre-back, one would imagine.
All in all though, the Gunners are in a far healthier state in the market than they were this time last year; their signings will have the time to meet, train, and integrate with their new team-mates.
So watch out for those North London Reds, they might just be up to something after seven years of silence.