Arsenal edge closer to double deal for duo Debuchy and Sanchez
Arsenal, 9/1 to win the Premier League this term, are set for a spectacular double summer swoop, with transfer deals for Newcastle United right back Mathieu Debuchy and Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez, reportedly in advanced stages.
After breaking their transfer record to snap up Mesut Ozil for £42.4m last season, the Gunners are preparing to send a message to their rivals with more bold moves in the market.
FA Cup winners Arsenal ultimately disappointed again last term, despite their silverware success against Hull City at Wembley. Once again a bright league campaign faded, with embarrassing results including drubbings at the hands of Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City.
Now it appears that Arsene Wenger and the Gunners board have accepted they must make top quality additions to compete and, after ending their nine-year trophy drought, look set to splash the cash and reinforce their squad.
Right back is an obvious area in need of attention, after Bacary Sagna defected to Manchester City on a free transfer. The Frenchman had been a key component in Wenger’s team and, with Carl Jenkinson unconvincing in the role, an Arsenal defence which conceded 41 league goals last campaign is in need of fresh legs.
A standout performer for France before their World Cup exit to Germany, Debuchy should fit in seamlessly at the Emirates, and has the advantage of 18 months’ Premier League experience. This may be one of the factors that convinced Wenger to plump for the Newcastle man ahead of Ivory Coast full back Serge Aurier, who also impressed in Brazil.
Stability in defence could be the key to success for Arsenal next season, and Debuchy would be both a reliable option and relative bargain, at a reported fee of around £10m.
Although not as eye-catching in attack as the likes of Seamus Coleman, he is still capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch, and has found himself as first choice for France, ahead of Sagna.
With the full back position in hand, Wenger also has his eye on an extra-special addition, with electrifying World Cup attacker Alexis Sanchez on his radar. The Chile forward was one of the stars of the tournament, almost inspiring his nation past hosts Brazil.
A £32m deal is reportedly near completion, with the Barcelona wideman, who netted 21 times for the Catalan club last season, supposedly preferring a move to the Emirates over Anfield.
The deal seems to be reliant on Luis Suarez’s impending transfer to the Spanish giants, with Barca hoping they could use Sanchez as a makeweight in a deal with Liverpool, and apparent interest from Juventus further complicating proceedings.
If successful in luring Sanchez to north London as expected, Wenger faces questions on how and where to deploy the flexible forward. Able to operate on the wing, or as a striker, the South American could provide his potential new boss with a variety of tactical options.
Having scored twice in the World Cup for Chile, who use him predominantly up front, Sanchez would allow Arsenal more fluidity in place of, or alongside, Oliver Giroud.
Wenger already boasts an impressive selection of versatile top class attacking options in Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but question marks remain over the England duo’s long term fitness. Likewise, the trio of Mesut Ozil, whose performances faded towards the end of last season, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, have often failed to keep consistent form.
Whilst Sanchez would provide competition and selection headaches, he may also bring with him some solutions. Walcott, who has played as a centre forward before, could combine with Sanchez in what would be a pacy and adaptable attack, with the Chilean’s ability to play out wide allowing Ozil to keep his best position behind the striker.
It is always questionable whether it is wise to sign players on the back of impressive international tournaments. However, Wenger will surely have seen enough of these two World Cup stars over the past year to be convinced they can add the required quality for Arsenal, who are odds-on at 4/6 for a top four finish this season.