Arsenal look set to spend big in the summer transfer window in an attempt to close the gap between themselves and the runaway Manchester teams. Arsene Wenger’s men sit at third yet have struggled at the back this season, conceding more goals than Stoke (14th) and Aston villa (15th).
It appears the club is looking to address the issue immediately. According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal has made ‘significant steps’ towards securing the services of Athletic Bilbao defensive midfielder Javi Martinez.
The main obstacle is his transfer fee. Martinez has a buyout clause of £32m and although Bilbao may be willing to negotiate he would still command a sizable cost with Manchester United and Barcelona also interested.
So how real is Arsenal’s interest in a player that could command £32m? Seeing as last season they purchased Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Per Mertesacker for a combined sum of £32m, it appears unlikely that Arsene will splash out on one player. Remember that such a free spending transfer window (by Arsenal’s standards) was compensated by the sales of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy and others.
Arsenal has also considered another option in Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila. Valued at around £20m, M’Vila is a young French prospect who has been highly regarded for his excellent defensive abilities and physicality. Although he failed with a bid of £10m last season, Wenger is confident that he can secure the services of his countryman for a fee short of £20m, with Manchester United and Real Madrid also keen on the French youngster according to the Sun.
With M’Vila a cheaper option, it appears highly unlikely that Wenger will stretch to spending up to £32m on 23-year-old Martinez. Despite the talents of the Spaniard, demonstrated in his side’s Europa League semi final win on Thursday, Wenger has not spent £20m or over on a player since his arrival at Arsenal in 1996.
However the transfer market is changing rapidly, with transfer fees increasing for everybody thanks to free spenders such as Manchester City. For now it might be best for the Gunners to opt for M’Vila, who they could snag for around £17m, and try to recompensate some of the fee through sales themselves.
Yet one thing is for sure, the days of frugal Arsenal must come to an end if they are to disrupt the duopoly at the top of the table.
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