As we all know by now, Gonzalo Higuain has been in Italy to sign for Napoli. I could be sarcastic and say that he doesn’t need any more medicals since he already had a million of them at Arsenal’s medical camp but it would be a bunch of sour grapes from me. We decided to miss out on one of the best finishers in the world who is only 26 due to Real Madrid’s demands regarding a fee.
There are more than a few possible consequences of Higuain’s departure to Napoli. First of all, one might say that Rafa Benitez did a favour to his former club by signing Higuain. With a fee received from Napoli for Higuain, Real Madrid can enter the market again and bid for Luis Suarez in order to complete their attacking line. In order to do that, Real Madrid might go much further than we would – I can see them easily bid 50 million pounds for Luis Suarez…or Gareth Bale.
Second of all, it crushes a theory according to which we made a bid for Suarez in order to put pressure on Real Madrid so they offer more for Suarez and make their demands for Higuain more reasonable and acceptable for us. That’s how Liverpool would get more money from Suarez’ sale, we would get Higuain and Real would get Suarez. This story had another ingredient as there were reports from Naples two days ago that the Italian outfit were going to bid for Suarez. With Higuain out of the picture, it seems that we are going to either lock horns with Real Madrid over Suarez or switch our attention to other targets (and it’s not like many of them are available).
Now, it’s obvious that we will have to raise our offer for Suarez if we want to sign him. That transfer would bite off (no pun intended) a large chunk of our transfer budget and our attack is not the only area that needs reinforcement.
Our current situation in defense is not so great either. Thomas Vermaelen is out due to injury for at least three months, Laurent Koscielny has suffered some ankle problems which leaves us with Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna, who is naturally a right full-back, as our only senior options for central defense. In order to change things there, we should sign a central defender – Ashley Williams, perhaps – who would add more options to our back-line. According to reports, Wenger would have to offer around 10 million pounds to persuade Swansea to sell their captain to us.
Furthermore, we don’t have too many options in the midfield, especially after Coquelin was loaned out to Wolfsburg. We’ll need a lot of players in that area not just because we’ll have to play the qualification round for the Champions’ League which means two more games in the opening stage of the season but also because we have injury prone players like Rosicky and Wilshere while Diaby can hardly be counted on. Marouane Fellaini for 23 million pounds would be the best possible option given his quality and versatility. With such a quality player available for the defensive midfield position, we wouldn’t have to play two players in that role like we had to do with Arteta and Ramsey during our brilliant run-in last season.
Finally, our attack is a bit short in numbers, especially if Gervinho leaves. We have Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain (who can be used as a central midfielder as well), Podolski and Giroud with Cazorla who can be used on the wing with a free role. Of course, we also have Chamakh, Bendtner and a lot of promising youngsters (Sanogo, Akpom, Campbell) but if there was anything to blame for our drop from 3rd to 4th position in the league, it was the absence of a world-class striker who could win big matches for us. If we fail in our attempt to lure Suarez, we will find ourselves pretty short with remaining possibilities. This was a busy summer when it came to top-drawer striker transfers, mostly thanks to the financial power of two French clubs – Cavani (PSG), Falcao (Monaco), Higuain (Napoli), Gomez (Fiorentina), Neymar (Barcelona), Tevez (Juventus) – as well of those who are either close to top-class or are going to become – Jovetić and Negredo (Manchester City), Schuerrle (Chelsea), Bony (Swansea). When you add Real Madrid’s decision to keep Benzema and Lewandowski’s decision to see out his contract with Borussia Dortmund before joining Bayern Muenchen, you will notice that there are not too many options for teams who are looking for a new top-class striker on the market.
Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez – both controversial in their own way – might be leaving their current clubs this summer but we will have to face tough competitors – Mourinho wants Rooney so badly that he has sent more sweet messages to Rooney than Coleen ever has, while Suarez is on the shortlist of Carlo Ancelotti. Suarez might be a better choice than Rooney when it comes to form but I’d go for Rooney of those two (of course, I would firstly go to knock on Borussia Dortmund door and offer those 40 million pounds for Lewandowski but it wouldn’t be successful). I think that United would accept an offer of 30 million pounds for the Englishman but his wage might be a hurdle that Wenger wouldn’t want to jump.
With 63 million pounds spent on fees for those three players, we would still have seven million pounds (provided that 70 million pounds war-chest includes only fees) to seal the deal with QPR for Julio Cesar. In that case, one of yesterday’s Napoli transfers will do us a favour – the Italian side agreed terms with Liverpool over the loan of Pepe Reina which means they don’t need Cesar anymore.
With Cesar, Williams, Fellaini and Rooney we would have a title-challenging team that would be ready to deal with injuries, suspensions and, the most important factor, opponents with all types of quality.
What is your opinion regarding the current transfer situation in Arsenal? Feel free to comment below!