The contract debacle Raheem Sterling and Liverpool currently find themselves neck-deep in has prompted several media sources to speculate on possible moves the England international might be lining up.
Manchester City, Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munchen all supposedly harbour an interest in the 20-year-old, but today the Mirror alleges that Arsenal will trump them all with a megabucks move in the summer.
In his old age, Arsene Wenger has grown a little more lax with regards to spending, forking out £42.5m on Mesut Ozil and £35m on Alexis Sanchez in recent campaigns.
An equally exorbitant sum will be required to lure Sterling to the Emirates, but even if one is offered the bwin.com odds moguls doubt a deal will go ahead, with a price of 3/1 saying he’ll sign for the Gunners by September 3rd, as opposed to the 1/5 about him failing to do so.
The implication is that the Jamaica-born speedster will reject overtures from north London in order to land a bigger contract at a more prestigious outfit – after all, it’s believed the reasons he won’t sign on at Anfield are fiscally motivated.
But, as is oft lamented in this very column, Arsenal have a raft of assets who can play in Sterling’s position, most of whom are more accomplished than him too.
There are several areas of their squad where they’re thinner than a dieting stick insect though and there are plenty of Blighty-reared talents capable of repopulating them if buying British is a priority of Arsenal’s this summer.
Here are three:
The anaemic Derby teen has resurfaced in this morning’s gossip columns, with Liverpool believed to have rekindled their interest.
A fledgling superstar playmaker who likes to orchestrate from deep, Hughes can help boost the Gunners’ stocks in central midfield, especially if Santi Cazorla departs, as has oft been reported.
Wenger’s summer acquisition of Danny Welbeck proves he has space in his squad for forwards whose technical prowess is outweighed by hard work and endeavour.
Ings isn’t the flashiest forward on the market, but he would be an excellent ancillary option to Welbeck and Olivier Giroud, with stats of nine goals in 27 for Burnley in his maiden Premier League campaign a testament to his qualities in the box.
The versatile Everton stopper can slot in at right-back as well in his preferred centre-half berth, which is especially handy for Arsenal, who are frequently encountering problems in both positions.
An undoubtedly talented defender, Stones is excellent on the ball and boasts similar physical attributes to the Gunners’ light-footed defensive twosome Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny.