Though there’s still plenty for Arsenal to fight for this season, the attentions of some onlookers are starting to turn to the summer months. But while the stereotype of football players and coaches often places them in the Caribbean soaking up some rays and participating in some well earned rest in June, Arsene Wenger looks set for a particularly busy period as temperatures soar.
Former Gunners vice-chairman David Dein – who enjoyed a close relationship with Wenger in his time in the Arsenal boardroom, which stretched over more than two decades – has backed that interpretation and thinks that the Frenchman will not only spend this summer, but spend big.
In recent years, Wenger has been perceived as a manager who is not willing to part with cash for quality players. For many, the result of this is clear – it’s now eight years since Arsenal added to their trophy cabinet.
As well as that, the club currently sit a massive 21 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United and are facing the very real possibility of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in Wenger’s tenure in north London.
A ninth season without silverware would be difficult to justify. Whether the Gunners reach the Champions League or not, this summer will be vital to the perception of Arsenal as a leading English club.
Of course, if Arsenal do finish in the top four, it will be much easier to attract the calibre of player craved by the Emirates Stadium faithful. Though the salary on offer will be tempting to the majority of players, what motivates most of them is success and trophies at the highest level.
But where will Wenger choose to strengthen? He has no shortage of vacancies in his squad. In recent weeks, Wojciech Szczesny has been dropped as first choice goalkeeper, with Lukasz Fabianski enjoying a prolonged return between the posts.
Fabianski isn’t a long term solution though, and it’s widely accepted that, should Wenger continue to be unconvinced by Szczesny, he will swoop for a new No 1. Somewhat optimistically, Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes have been linked with the club in the gossip columns.
Elsewhere, Abou Diaby’s latest injury setback, which is likely to rule him out until at least Christmas, is likely to force the Frenchman’s hand in strengthening the middle of the pitch with a physically imposing, box to box player . However such a breed of world class midfielder is tough to come by.
But for all the potential signings that Wenger may or may not have looked into, Arsenal’s recruitment policy will be largely defined by the position in which they finish the Premier League season.
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