Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuaín was set to leave the club at season’s end. Now his wish has come true. Early in the summer, reports of an imminent transfer to Arsenal were surfacing, but after weeks of the deal being “nearly complete”, the Argentine struck a deal to play at the Stadio San Paolo with Napoli.
For Arsenal, this is just yet another player they’ve lost out on. And with their attention now on Luis Suárez of Liverpool, another rejection could be forthcoming. They’ve been rebuffed by Liverpool twice already for the 26-year-old striker from Uruguay, once for £30 million and their latest bid — a £40,000,001 offer — was rejected Tuesday.
Liverpool apparently isn’t interested in any offer below £50 million, but Arsenal’s attempts came in an effort to trigger a clause in Suárez’s contract that would effectively result in his release, according to his agent Pere Guardiola. Liverpool disagrees with that assessment of Suárez’s contract, stating that they must only begin to listen to offers should they exceed £40 million — hence Arsenal’s £40,000,001 bid.
Real Madrid, having lost Higuaín, may be interested in the striker too. But for all of the issues Suárez has dealt with, involving violent conduct, some clubs may want to consider shying away. He stated that his desire to leave Liverpool came from an overwhelming intrusion of his personal life by the English media, something that would be inescapable anywhere in the English Premier League. Though many clubs appear willing to take a chance due to his superb style of play and position flexibility.
So for Arsenal, a club whose transfer record is closer to £15 million than Suárez’s £40-50 million range, it might be another offseason of standing pat. Arsène Wenger will deploy confidence in his current roster rather than inserting a proven talent, like he has done with the club basically every season since he has taken over. It has worked to varying degrees of success; Arsenal finished in the top four and qualifies for Champions League play nearly every year, but haven’t any considerable hardware to show for it. It’s possible 24-year-old Theo Walcott could continue to become a better player — he led the team in goals with 14 last season. But his natural wing position and struggles with dribbling have slowed his ascension to becoming one of the best in the game. He and Olivier Giroud could become a great attacking force in their second season together, but the wait-and-see approach has failed Arsenal in the past .
Other names — like Wayne Rooney of Manchester United, who wants out and has been linked to Arsenal — won’t and shouldn’t end up at the Emirates. A better fit would be at Chelsea under new coach José Mourinho. Arsenal have a good pool of talent on offense, but suffer inconsistencies and setbacks on defense. Two important backs, Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal, both of whom helped solidify the backfield last season, are injured and could miss a portion of the beginning of next season, which begins on August 17th against Aston Villa. Kieran Gibbs seems to be the best option in store for selection; he played well last season before injuring his thigh and being replaced in the January transfer window by Monreal upon his return.
With the injuries mounting, the failed transfer pursuits, and the empty spots on the first-team squad, Arsenal will need to bring in some new pieces. But whether they are of the high level talent that Gunner fans have been looking for since Robin Van Persie’s departure remains in deep doubt.