Will it be Yaya?
Whilst the players have been going through their paces in Austria, Arsene Wegner has been going through his book of possible midfielders to bring to the club. Having seen the paucity of players available to him, the Arsenal manager must be regretting allowing Lassana Diarra to leave in January.
Wenger would like to bring someone in before the Emirates Cup and has five players on his radar and has made tentative enquiries about three of them already this summer.
It has been well documented that Pat Rice spoke to Aston Villa assistant manager Steve Walford about Gareth Barry. Even though Liverpool were making all the running on this transfer, things have cooled down as it appears the Liverpool do not have any money to spend on players unless the sell players. Barry would be a good acquisition for Arsenal as he does not need any time to acclimatise to the Premier League. Arsenal will be able to pick him up for around £14M.
Arsenal have already had a bid turned down for Xabi Alonso, Liverpool are holding out for £16M, the exact sum that will price away Barry from Aston Villa. Alonso’s main exit route was Juventus, but they baulked at the price and went for Paulsen from Sevilla at £7M. Unless Atletico Madrid or Barcelona are prepared to stump up £16M, Liverpool will either have to lower their price to help finance a bid a for Barry or they will keep Alonso. Wenger will not wait around for Benitez to make a decision as we could be waiting till next summer!
A player that was rumoured to be on Arsenal’s radar earlier in the summer is Michael Johnson of Manchester City. The plus points of Johnson is he is young, English, has Premier League experience and will cost in the region of £12M. But is he the experienced player Wenger has spoken about? I doubt it and this is probably agent talk to try to flush out other potential purchasers.
Going abroad, there are two potential targets, Miguel Velosso of Sporting Lisbon has been touted by his agent all summer to anybody who would listen but to no avail. He is young, but Sporting are demanding £18M for a young player who is part of the Portugal squad but not a regular.
The other target is the younger brother of Kolo Toure, Yaya Toure. Wenger had a close
look at Yaya several seasons ago, but was unable to buy him as he would not have qualified for a work permit. Toure then went on an odyssey of football outposts before finally arriving at Barcelona last season. It is well known that Arsenal tried to get Yaya as part of the Hleb deal, but this did not materialise. Not to be deterred, Arsenal have spoken to Barcelona about completing the move for the younger Toure, but talks are at an early stage. Barcelona may be prepared to let Toure leave if they buy Velosso. Yaya has gone on record as to say that he would love to link up with his older brother Kolo. The arrival of Yaya Toure at the Emirates would be a solid signing.
One player who will not be coming to the Emirates is Andrei Arshavin. Zenit are demanding £22M, whilst he players wants £100,000 per week. Only Chelsea will not bat an eye-lid at such demands.