Three unlikely transfer targets Arsenal must pursue

by Nikica Kolundzic

Mario GomezJust one week is what remains left of another incredible and electrifying season full of unbelievable goals, implausible saves and some absolutely scandalous activities on the pitch. (Most notably, Luis Suarez biting a chunk out of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm several weeks ago)

Although this season may not have been the most competitive one with respect to Manchester United securing their 20th Premier League title and three clubs already feeling the full effect of a disappointing and underachieving season in the notoriously-feared relegation zone, we’ve still been treated to some wonderful highs and regrettable lows, including the fast-improving and mythical talents of Gareth Bale at the top end, and the sad retirement of a veteran and legend of the game at the bottom: Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, this also sees a time where transfer talk begins to hot up, a roaring fire further fuelled by fans’ desperate wishes and the media’s clueless reports published for both attention, and money. On the other hand, one of the shy culprits rarely linked with big money moves each Summer may have broken the financial barrier manager Arsene Wenger has so insistently tried to maintain in past years with signings of relative unknowns which have infuriated both the fans and players at the club.

Nevertheless, this year has seen Arsenal’s owners claim Wenger has a £70million warchest at his disposal, a happy prospect Arsenal fans will surely be licking their lips at. With the usual suspects such as Stefan Jovetic of Fiorentina and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain linked with a summer move to the Emirates this year, I have taken a look at unlikely transfer targets Arsenal should try to pursue in order to build a team capable of contending for trophies again.

3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £13million

Saint-Etienne hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has sensationally lit up the French league this year – scoring  a respectable 21 goals and nabbing 16 assists in 41 games this season, playing second fiddle to only Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the race for the Ligue 1 golden boot. A young player blessed with plenty of pace and skill with a calm and collected composure whenever in front of goal, Aubameyang’s transfer value has rocketed dramatically over the past few seasons. With the Gabon centre-forward enjoying the best form of his career so far, he has attracted many famous suitors from abroad, including the likes of Manchester City and Paris St. Germain. With a big decision still left to be made and seemingly being swept underneath the carpet until the culmination of the season, now would be the perfect time for Arsenal to swoop for the 23 year-old starlet. As Olivier Giroud has failed to step up to the mark miserably and establish himself as an Arsenal regular in the striking role, and with little squad depth in the position, Arsene Wenger could find himself digging deep into his pockets to secure the Les Verts forward who is also capable of playing as a right winger – a possibility which is surely a much better alternative to playing the inconsistent Aaron Ramsey. For as little as just £13million, Arsene Wenger could unearth a little gem in Aubameyang during the Summer transfer window – a signing almost every Arsenal fan would happily welcome to the Emirates.

How likely is the transfer? 55% – Aubameyang hasn’t given any hints as to which team he will be playing for next season and he has gained an increasing interest from big clubs in his talents, so the possibilities of his next destination are endless but he has publicly stated he would prefer a move away from Ligue 1.

Arsenal XI

Possible Arsenal XI for next season

2. Holger Badstuber – £22million

Perhaps the transfer that has the least chance of materalising yet one that would unquestionably pose a big impact on the inconsistent Arsenal defence, German centre-back Holger Badstuber would be an intelligent and beneficial addition to the Gunners’ back four. A towering player comfortable with soaring aerial duels and immaculate passing for somebody of his position; his unbreakable concentration and ability to maintain his discipline and composure on the pitch when defending have made his 12 performances in a Bayern shirt this campaign hard to fault. However, having missed most of the season due a string of frustrating injuries which stemmed from late October, the young defender still isn’t scheduled for a return to training until the close of the final month of the season. Furthermore, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes replaced Badstuber with his fellow international representative Jerome Boateng, who has found unprecedented success in his new role at the heart of the defence. Now football pundits and fans alike are intensely speculating over whether the 24 year old will ever regain the stunning form and commanding presence on the field everyone knows he is capable of, in light of unfortunate injuries in recent years seeing future stars such as Aaron Ramsey or Anderson struggle to find that bit of special quality that allowed them to explode onto the footballing scene before their undeserved spells on the sidelines. A move to Arsenal could just be what Badstuber needs to silence the critics and doubters, with his place in Die Roten’s starting line-up in more danger than ever before. In fact, with the 2014 World Cup looming on the distant horizon, Badstuber needs regular playing time to cement the position he rightfully claimed 2 years ago in Joachim Low’s first team, vital playing time that may not be offered to him with the gauntlet of defensive powerhouses at Bayern’s disposal greater than ever.

How likely is the transfer? 15% – Badstuber had just started to find his feet with his name being one of the first on the teamsheet every week – and although he missed most of the season due to injury, its more than likely he will look to stay in his native country to fight for his place in Bayern’s back line.

1. Mario Gomez – £35million

Bayern Munich hitman Mario Gomez has been a prolific and established striker for several years now since his dream move to Bayern Munich from Stuttgart was completed four years ago. Despite not being the fastest or most technically gifted striker to grace some of Europe’s biggest stadiums, there may quite not be another forward on the planet who makes scoring goals look as easy as he does. Simply put, Mario Gomez is a goal-machine (netting an amazing 111 goals in 171 appearances for Bayern) with deadly finishing accuracy and a devastating proficiency when in front of goal – whether the ball is lofted high into the box or is delicately slid in front of his feet from one of his star teammates, expect Mario Gomez to find the back of the net 9 times out of 10 when given a clear-cut chance. However, this season has seen former Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic break  into the Bayern starting line-up in dramatic fashion, shaking the dynamics of the Bundesliga with his 15 goals helping Die Bavarians secure their 22nd title, following a string of injuries suffered by Gomez at the start of the season.

As Gomez was forced to have eye surgery before having to go under the knife yet again for a troubled ankle halfway through the season, he slowly watched his chances of regaining his first team place again decrease rapidly with every spectacular performance put in by the Croatian hitman. With rumours of another Dortmund raid this Summer in the form of Robert Lewandowski and Gomez struggling to nail down a regular place in the Bayern line-up coupled with Arsenal’s agonizing striking woes, the German striker may be forced to look elsewhere in order to keep his 2014 World Cup bid alive – and he is certainly far too good to waste away the indisputable talent he clearly has on the sidelines.

How likely is the transfer? 35% – Even though Gomez has spent most of this season on the bench and whispers of a Lewandowski or Suarez transfer are growing louder, it will probably be another season before he decides to move elsewhere – especially as he is one of the best strikers in the world when being at full fitness and on top form.

7 Responses

  1. Aleex says:

    Worst article I’ve ever read about arsenal. Gomez is just a goal poacher, nothing special about him, aubameyang and podolski would offer nothing in attacking creativity, and replacing koscielny (one of the best defenders around) with badstuber and mertesacker is laughable.

    1. Nikica Kolundzic says:

      You’ve said Gomez is nothing special yet he has recorded 111 goals in 172 games for Bayern, that’s an average of 0.65 goals per game, he is one of the best strikers in the world and surely what Arsenal need is a poacher, someone who can score goals as opposed to Giroud who is extremely inconsistent and Walcott isn’t the right solution to the problem as he is more of a winger than a striker. Aubameyang and Podolski would offer nothing in attaacking creativity because most of the midfield in Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla would be providing the attacking chances, they are more on the wing to cut inside and score goals. I wouldn’t say Koscielny is one of the best defenders around, he wouldn’t have played at all this season if it hadn’t been for Vermaelen being out of form and Badstuber is a good young talent who has the potential to be one of the best and Mertesacker has had his best season in an Arsenal shirt to date, so it doesn’t seem that laughable.

  2. Jamie says:

    Agree about this being terrible. Badstuber’s season being interrupted by a string of frustrating injuries – what, a cruciate ligament injury? As for Boateng, he’s always been a centre-back in his main position although he is versatile and can play across the back.

    Badstuber is much better and will be back in that team as soon as he’s fit. Why on earth would he want to play for Arsenal? And what is “Die Bavarians”?

    Also I’d hardly call Giroud failing miserably. He’s done OK, but surely Wenger knew he wasn’t getting a world-class striker when he bought him. Arsenal need someone up top who will score in the big games against the big teams.

    Also you putting Wilshere in that first XI is *really* ambitious, and finally you rating Gibbs above Monreal says it all about how awfully thought-through this piece has been.

    1. Nikica Kolundzic says:

      Badstuber has been out for the whole season, it is not guaranteed that he would return to the first team just like that, especially with a new manager where everyone will have to work even harder to impress him and establish themselves as first team players under his reign.

      If Badstuber doesn’t get game time I struggle to see him staying at Bayern, and their nickname is “Die Bavarians,” do some research

      Giroud has failed miserably, he hasn’t filled Van Persie’s shoes and if Wenger knew he wasn’t getting a world-class striker why would he sign him then, especially when he keeps on getting more flack for not making any stellar signings? Seems a bit pointless

      Why is putting Wilshere in the first XI really ambitious, has he not said he is staying at Arsenal having signed a contract extension a few months ago? And Gibbs has been more impressive than Monreal, and I think by the way Gibbs has started more than Monreal even after he came to Arsenal clearly shows Wenger thinks the same too

  3. Jamie says:

    They’re a German club and Bavarians isn’t even a German word. So saying their nickname is “Die Bavarians” really is ridiculous. Awful writing frankly. Nobody at Bayern has ever called them that, show me where you found it. Also Badstuber is from Bavaria, just outside Munich even. They’re quite patriotic there to say the least. I don’t see Badstuber wanting to leave. There’s about as much chance of it as Lahm, Muller or Schweinsteiger leaving. He is loved at the club.

    Wilshere has barely played for two years. Arsenal shouldn’t pin their hopes on him, you need a title-winning plan without him.

    1. Nikica Kolundzic says:

      Wilshere was fantastic for Arsenal during the middle parts of the season, and Arsenal should pin their hopes on him because he is a young star with a ton of potential, you don’t discard young talent just because of a serious injury, if anything you do your best and spend more time trying to get him back to the player he once was

      Would you really say a player of Badstuber’s talent would prioritise patriotism over playing every week? I wouldn’t. The situation would be the same for Schweinsteiger, Lahm or Muller if they were injured that severely over a year early on in their careers. And Muller is so patriotic? Wasn’t he lining up a move to Inter or not ruling it out only this January? Very patriotic.

      Its hard to say who will start between Gibbs or Monreal but in my opinion Gibbs is a future England left back and has great quality attacking and defending, but at the end of the day Monreal was bought for a reason and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wenger rotate the two next season.

      I always had the idea that people refered to Bayern as the Bavarians because they are in Bavaria, in Munich? Is that not the reason? I can assure you I didn’t just make it up in the way you seem to be implying? https://www.facebook.com/diebavarians Just an example of what Munich fans regard themselves as.

      Sorry you didn’t like the article, but I thought it would be an interesting piece and at least I have challenged some opinions out there, thank you for taking the time to read it

  4. Jamie says:

    Monreal started 9 out of 14 league games after joining Arsenal. But you can say what you like I guess. A shambles from start to finish, really.

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