Arsene Wenger ready to call on Danny Welbeck?
Arsenal, 7/1 to win the Premier League, could look to land Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck, if their worst fears are confirmed about the fitness of French frontman Olivier Giroud.
Goal hero Giroud appeared to be injured in the final minutes of the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Everton, after netting his side’s equaliser, and is suspected to have broken his ankle.
Arsene Wenger now faces an anxious wait to see whether his main man will face a significant spell on the sidelines, and may have to dip back into the transfer pool to compensate for his absence.
Giroud was Arsenal’s top scorer last term, hitting home 22 times last term, so Wenger may feel it prudent to add further firepower to his squad. Superstar signing Alexis Sanchez is only just beginning to settle in the Premier League, whilst Theo Walcott is also injured, leaving space for a new attacking acquisition.
Welbeck reportedly wants an Old Trafford exit this summer to secure regular first-team football, and has long been tipped as a target for the Gunners.
With question marks surrounding Giroud’s fitness, Wenger is now said to be stepping up his interest in the versatile 23-year-old, who is also rumoured to be on the radar of Hull City, Sunderland and Tottenham.
Red Devils academy product Welbeck is adept at link up play, meaning he could be an ideal fit for Wenger’s philosophy, and would provide pace, power and versatility to the Arsenal squad. Whether United, who poached former Gunners’ star striker Robin van Persie in 2012, would let a homegrown talent depart for a direct rival remains to be seen.
It is believed Louis van Gaal is reluctant to let Welbeck leave for a side in the top six but, with just 18 months left on the England frontman’s contract, he may have little option. The impending arrival of Angel Di Maria could potentially hasten a departure, with attacking positions already cramped at Old Trafford.
Arsenal are also being linked with a host of alternatives, though, and QPR attacker Loic Remy could be a viable and affordable option. The 27-year-old was set to switch to Liverpool earlier in the summer, but the deal crumbled following reported problems with the medical.
Remy had been set to stay at QPR, with Hoops boss Harry Redknapp stating he believed the striker would only leave for a side with Champions League football. Arsenal’s interest could now upset the apple cart though, and leave Redknapp hunting for replacements, if Wenger decides to activate Remy’s £8.5m release clause.
Torino attacker Alessio Cerci has also emerged as a potential emergency signing, after impressing for the Serie A side last season. The Italy international netted 13 times last term, and is able to operate as either a wideman or a forward, but could cost upwards of £16m.
Whilst the Gunners appear to be focusing on making additions in offence, they could be set to lose out on potential backline acquisitions Toby Alderweireld and Kostas Manolas.
Wenger has spoken of recruiting a new centre half to replace departed skipper Thomas Vermaelen, who exited the Emirates for Barcelona this summer, but it now seems the Gunners may be pipped to the post for their top targets.
Belgium centre back Alderweireld has recently been mooted to move to north London to replace his compatriot Vermaelen, but Southampton could now race ahead to secure his signature.
Reports claim the Saints, who need to reinforce their rearguard after selling stars Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren, have made contact with Atletico Madrid. The Spanish champions could be willing to sell for as little as £6m, and the south coast club can guarantee regular football for the ex-Ajax man, who would be able to plug gaps at centre half and right back.
Greece World Cup star Kostas Manolas, meanwhile, has also been heavily linked with a transfer to Arsenal, but it nows looks as though Wenger will now miss out on the Olympiakos youngster. Roma are supposedly set to swoop for the talented defender, and may leave Arsenal in the dust.
The Gunners, 7/4 to finish outside the top four this term, will have to move quicker if they wish to make quality signings before the transfer window slams shut.