Arsenal finished 12 points off the pace of league winners Chelsea last season finishing third and guaranteeing Champions League football yet again under Arsene Wenger. The Gunners did lift the FA Cup once again, destroying Aston Villa at Wembley as they defended the famous old trophy.The Gunners spent big last summer, recruiting many big names to boost their ranks. Alexis Sanchez was arguably the signing of the summer after excelling in his first season at the Emirates. The Chilean left Barcelona for around £37m and was named Arsenal’s player of the season; scoring 25 goals in his debut season in London.
Wenger has moved quickly in this season’s transfer window with Petr Cech on the verge of completing an £11m deal from Chelsea. Arsenal have lacked a top quality keeper and Cech will no doubt improve their squad and transform them into genuine title challengers. Manchester City are reportedly interested in signing Jack Wilshere with a £40m rumoured to be inbound.
We assess the signings Arsenal could look to make if they are to challenge for the title next campaign.
Arsenal’s 2015 Summer Shopping List
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund – Gabon
Once the deal for Cech has been completed, Arsenal will turn their attentions to Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. According to reports in Germany, Arsenal are expected to test Dortmund’s resolve to keep their main striker with a £28m bid for the Gabon international.
Aubameyang is apparently ready to leave the German club following Jurgen Klopp’s departure. The 26 year old enjoyed a fine season despite Dortmund’s struggles scoring 25 goals last campaign. The former Saint Etienne striker has been targeted to bolster Arsenal’s attacking options. Legendary striker Thierry Henry has said that the club will not return to the top of English football with current striker Olivier Giroud as the spearhead of their attack.
The Gabonese forward is extremely versatile and able to operate as the central striker or operate out-wide. Aubameyang is known for his immense speed and would add to an already pace-filled forward line. Only Robert Lewandowski has scored more goals in the Bundesliga than Aubameyang over the last two seasons which has shown he can be a prolific forward. With the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil supplying ammunition for the striker, he can give Arsenal the top class striking options they have been missing.
Morgan Schneiderlin – Southampton – France
Arsenal have often lacked a solid defensive midfielder who can allow their attackers to play to their strengths up the field. Francis Coquelin was superb in the holding midfield role last season but Arsenal feel they still need an enforcer to dominant their midfield. Morgan Schneiderlin is once again being targeted by the Gunners to plug the gap.
The Southampton man has been lined up for a £24m move to the Emirates and would be an excellent addition to their squad. Schneiderlin has proved Premier League experience and has attracted the attention of top clubs such as Manchester United and North London rivals Tottenham. Schneiderlin is prepared to leave St Mary’s in search of Champions League football and at the age of 24, Arsenal is the perfect club for the midfielder to develop.
The signing of the Frenchman allows Arsenal’s attackers such as Cazorla and Ozil to operate further up the field and allows Arsenal to set up more defensively with a midfield partnership of Schneiderlin and Coquelin. The France international reads the game exceptionally well and is a tough tackling midfield unit who finished in the top five most tackles won in the Premier League last season. With Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini entering the tail-end of their careers, fresh legs are needed but Southampton will not let their prized asset leave for anything less than £25m.
Jackson Martinez – FC Porto – Colombia
Porto’s Jackson Martinez has become one of the most sought after players this summer with many top clubs competing for his signature. The striker has been linked with clubs such as Atletico Madrid and AC Milan but Arsenal are confident they can complete a deal for the clinical finisher.
Atletico Madrid have turned their attentions to Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez after cooling their interest in the Porto forward. A deal with Milan was rumoured to be close but Arsenal can offer Champions League football after another terrible campaign in Italy for the Italian club.
Martinez is currently on international duty with Colombia in the Copa America and Arsenal have emerged as favourites for the 28 year old striker’s signature. Lukas Podolski is set to leave the club with Galatasaray interested in the German and forward re-enforcements are needed. Martinez has a £24m release clause included in his contract at Porto; a figure which the Gunners are willing to meet.
The Colombian netted 21 goals in the Portuguese league last season as well as seven goals in the Europe’s elite competition as his club reached the quarter finals of the Champions League. Martinez would represent an improvement on Giroud but a potential move could hinge on whether Arsenal move for Aubameyang.
Other Rumoured Transfer Targets
Julian Draxler – Schalke – Germany
Julian Draxler seems to be linked with Arsenal every transfer window and the trend has continued once again. Wenger is an admirer of the young German midfielder who has been troubled with injuries last season. Schalke were adamant their prized asset would not be sold for less than £40m last season but could be willing to let the 21 year old leave for half of that figure due to his current injury problems. Only time will tell if Arsenal will finally move for Draxler who is considered one of Europe’s hottest prospects.
Giannelli Imbula – Marseille – France
Another defensive midfielder that has been linked with a move to England is Giannelli Imbula. Arsenal had been interested in Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia however the Frenchman now looks set to complete a move to Inter Milan. Arsenal have reportedly turned their attention to Imbula who would command a £12m fee. Inter Milan are also interested in the 22 year old who they want to pair with Kondogbia and Arsenal’s interest in the Marseille man is likely to cool should they complete a deal for Schneiderlin.
Raheem Sterling – Liverpool – England
It will be interesting to see whether Arsenal enter the race to sign want-away winger Raheem Sterling. The youngster has stated his desire to leave Liverpool and will not enter contract talks with the Merseyside club. Manchester City are the frontrunners for his contract but Arsenal were also linked with a move for the 20 year old and a swap-deal including Theo Walcott was rumoured. Liverpool will not budge on their £50m valuation of the England international which could prove a stumbling block to any deal and hand Manchester City the advantage in the race for his signature.