This post is to write about the rumours and transfers of the next season: 2012-2013.
Read the news about Arsenal transfers and comment on this post later to argue about it:
IN / OUT
Is ROBIN VAN PERSIE leaving? Is he staying?
RUMOURS AND TRANSFERS 2012-2013 PHOTO ALBUM
Despite conflicting reports on Thursday, it would appear that Arsenal is out of the running to sign Eden Hazard. It had been claimed earlier in the day, by both the Times and the Daily Star, that Arsenal were still contenders for the in-demand Lille star.
As Arsenal's move for Eden Hazard looks dead in the water, where will boss Arsene Wenger turn next?
But Hazard, himself, seems to have ruled the Gunners out with his latest quotes on the long-running transfer saga.
"I do not know when a decision will be made about my future club," he said while on international duty with Belgium, according to Sky Sports.
"It will be between Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
"The final choice also depends on how much play that I would get and the position where I play.
"Not everyone can say that he can choose from these three clubs."
Arsenal was perhaps the first major club to show an interest in the 21-year-old last summer, but, as the price has increased, the club has long-since ceased to be viewed as serious contenders for his signature.
Boss Arsene Wenger's apparent failure to secure Hazard is likely linked to Goal.com's reports that Arsenal is pursuing Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa with increased vigor.
The Gunners could face further disappointment, however, with the story claiming that Manchester United have lodged a bid of £13.6 million for the attacking midfielder. With Kagawa having recently met with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, United are considered favorites to sign the 23-year-old, who has just a year remaining on his contract with Dortmund.
If reports are to be believed Arsenal could also be set to go head-to-head with United over the signing of Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud. Wenger is thought to be an admirer of the 25-year-old, who was the joint top scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 21 goals.
But, according to Caught Offside, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is also ready to make a move for Giroud. Further speculation about the French international comes from Mercato365, which claims that Roma are also interested, but that the Gunners remain favorites for his signature.
While at this stage reports of United's interest are unsubstantiated, Arsenal would be advised to act quickly with Giroud set to be in the shop window at Euro 2012.
Despite United's interest, Arsenal could still be in the running to sign Crewe prospect Nick Powell. Earlier in the week the Manchester Evening News wrote that United had agreed a deal for the highly-rated 18-year-old and would formally complete an estimated £4 million deal after Crewe's League Two Playoff Final on Sunday.
But, according to Crewe manager Steve Davis, the report was premature.
"At the moment it's just speculation," Davis said, according to TalkSport.
"There has been no solid offer from anybody. Nothing will be happening until Sunday's out of the way. Maybe next week we'll know a little bit more."
Powell, an attacking midfielder, recently scooped a clean sweep at Crewe's end of season awards; wining Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Goal of the Season.
Arsenal is also thought to be interested in fellow teenager Foday Nabay. The 13-year-old Sierra Leone-born midfielder is currently on the books of Birmingham and has already represented England at under-16 level.
The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea is also keen on Nobay, along with fellow Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City, although Arsenal remains favorites
Emirates Stadium boss ready to conduct clear-out.
Nicklas Bendtner has confirmed he is in talks about securing a move away from this summer.
The Danish striker was sent on a season-long loan to Sunderland and is not part of Arsene Wenger’s long-term plans for the Gunners.
He is believed to be part of a group alongside Denilson, Sebastien Squillaci and Johan Djourou that Wenger is keen to offload as he reshapes his squad this summer.
Arsenal could happily lose this quartet without any detriment to Arsene Wenger’s squad as a whole and no doubt the Gunners boss would hope to recoup a fair sum for the four that he can then put towards bringing in a new signing or two.
Nicklas Bendtner had fairly good season out on loan at Sunderland and perhaps the Black Cats would be interested in signing the Danish international on a permanent basis, finding new homes for the others among this quartet may however prove more problematic.
Sebastien Squillaci was brought in to act as an experienced centre back to help beef up the numbers at the back however the French defender has appeared woefully inept and as such could prove a tricky player to attract any sort of fee for, indeed Wenger may elect to simply release the player to any side willing to acquire the services of the 31 year old former Sevilla man.
Denilson has spent the last year back at his former club Sao Paulo where he was sent off three times early on in the campaign but showed some signs of promise and could well secure a permanent move to the Brazilian side. Johan Djourou has shown plenty of heart during his Arsenal career but the utility defender may well lack the abilities needed to be a regular in a side challenging for a major honours.
So who is latest addition to a seemingly endless line of French talent that Wenger seems to pluck year in year out? Let's find out:
Olivier Giroud comes from Montpellier, the team that shocked France by winning Ligue 1 last season with the mere pocket change they had compared to PSG's endless riches. Giroud played an integral role, scoring 21 goals, bagging the golden boot, and had a hand 9 other goals (assists), proving that there's more to his game than putting the ball in the back of the net.
So what sort of player is Giroud? He's big, he's strong and has a physical presence. A height of 6ft 3 ins tall and around 88kgs, Giroud would certainly provide a different dimension to what we already have in Van Persie. We said the same thing when Chamakh was signed, but he only provided an aerial presence. Giroud provides this and much more of a powerful physical presence. He is much more of a creator by all accounts, and judging by the number of assists he has created.
With the lack of depth from last season in the striking department, this is just the sort of signing we need (assuming Van Persie stays of course!). We have signed Podolski, but he’s more likely to be played on the left, what I’m talking about is an out and out striker.
Whenever the likes of Chamakh and Park got an opportunity, to say they were a shadow of Van Persie would be a compliment. They were awful. I understand they didn't get much opportunity but when they did they lacked any presence, and provided no spark whatsoever. Giroud, a man who almost singlehandedly won Montpellier the title out of nothing will be a reliable back up. If you think this is a knee jerk purchase by Wenger, you're wrong. You see, Wenger finds talent, even when that talent is a needle in a haystack. Wenger has been tracking Giroud for years.
When he was playing for Tours in Ligue 2 in 2008-09, he was being coached by Daniel Sanchez, a close ally of Wenger. This is where his friendship with Laurent Koscielny was born. They are the best of mates and are currently room mates for the national team at EURO 2012. He had this to say about his potential future team mate:
"I always knew he would become the great player he is now. He always had something more than the others. I am delighted that he won the French title and finished the league top goalscorer because he deserved it. He has worked so hard for it. And the best is yet to come."
His friendship with Koscielny, not to mention his current exposure to members of the French squad will ensure that he will have no trouble adjusting to life at Arsenal. Koscielny rates him and he also came from a similar background, rapidly rising from France's lower leagues, so he knows what it is like, and he knows what it takes.
The only weakness I suppose is that he hasn't had exposure to big games, playing with a team of stars. He will be tested in such games, particularly in the Champions League.. He has already scored his first goal for France in February against Germany. This however was only his second game ever outside of France! The other was a Europa League qualifier in Hungary in which Montpellier were eliminated.
He is now part of the French squad, and is slowly receiving such exposure. He's making this transition look seamless. He was particularly impressive in his performance against Iceland, where he set up the last two goals – one with a great one-two with Ribery and the second with a fine header for Adil Rami, to complete a 3-2 comeback for France. The signs are looking good.
I really hope this deal can be done soon, will add some much needed quality and depth into our strike force.
Arsenal have emerged as rivals to Chelsea's interest in Hatem Ben Arfa.
The 25-year-old Newcastle winger has been on the Champions League winners' radar for some time after an impressive campaign last season.
But Arsenal, whose summer reshuffle has seen them buy Cologne striker Lukas Podolski and sign Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, are now contenders, too.
Ben Arfa is believed to have welcomed the interest, as he fears he would not play regularly if he were to trade Tyneside for Stamford Bridge.