Arsenal Transfer Focus – Gunners linked with numerous arrivals and exits

With the fate of Robin van Persie still up in the air and set to be the transfer soap opera of the summer, Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has confirmed that Olivier Giroud was the Gunners’ contingency plan.

Grimandi, also a former Arsenal defender, told le10sport.com: Was Olivier Giroud signed to compensate for his [van Persie’s] departure? Yes, we worked to avoid finding ourselves in a corner. But we are doing everything we can to keep him and we want him to stay with us.

“However, if there is an exceptional offer and he wants to leave, keeping him will be tough. I would never have thought, for example, that Thiago Silva could be transferable but he was for a while. There are variables that can’t be controlled.”

Former Montpellier striker Giroud was signed along with Lukas Podolski this summer and looks set to lead the Gunners line next season, if van Persie fails to play out the last year of his contract.

Another player entering the final twelve months of his Gunners deal is Theo Walcott. According to the tabloids, including The Sun, the lightning winger is ‘devastated’ by van Persie’s decision to leave the Emirates and is now considering leaving the club himself. He has been linked with Chelsea in recent months.

One man who looks set to remain in North London, despite Arsenal’s best efforts to move him on, is defender Sebastien Squillaci. The Frenchman has made only 20 league starts in his two seasons in an Arsenal shirt but, according to Eurosport, interested parties have been staggered by Squillaci’s allegedly excessive wage demands. Unless he significantly reduces his desired fees, he is likely to be on the Gunners’ books at the beginning of the season.

However there isn’t just movement away from the Emirates Stadium. Boss Arsene Wenger is keen to take a look at young Caen striker M’Baye Niang. The 17-year-old is highly thought of in his native France but was relegated from the top flight with his club last season – leading Arsenal to think they could land him for as little as £5million.

Niang will initially join the Gunners on trial but, should he impress, that may turn into a permanent deal. Other European big guns, including Manchester United and Manchester City, are also keen on landing the powerhouse forward.

In other news, Brighton and Hove Albion are closing in on a loan deal for Spanish defender Ignasi Miquel, according to the Daily Mail. Miquel played nine times for the first team last season but it is believed the club are keen for him to get some first team football under his belt – a belief that has alerted Seagulls manager Gus Poyet on the south coast.

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