Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has remained silent on increasing speculation that Sami Khedira is about to join the North London club. Wenger has long been linked with the Real Madrid man and talk of Khedira joining the Gunners has heightened in recent days. Speaking to journalists after the Gunners’ pre-season victory over Boreham Wood yesterday (Saturday), Frenchman Wenger revealed his summer spending had not reached an end but he would not be drawn on whether the German was on his list.
Speculation surrounding Khedira’s proposed move to Arsenal piqued after Real refused to sell shirts bearing the German’s name a-few-days-ago. When asked about the player, Wenger remained coy. “Look, I can’t give you any names,” he told broadcaster ESPN. However, Wenger did confirm he wanted to strengthen his squad further and that a goalkeeper was high on his list of priorities. Real’s veteran stopper Iker Casillas, who has also been linked with the Gunners, said he is keen to makes the move to the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has already had a fruitful time in the transfer market this summer. He has captured the signatures of Alexis Sánchez from Barcelona and Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United for a combined total of circa $75 million. Gunners fans expect him to spend more money following last season’s FA Cup success, which was seen by many as a springboard to mounting a serious title challenge. Despite a solid start to last campaign, Arsenal’s title charge petered out after Christmas.
Now that Manchester United are undergoing a revolution under Louis van Gaal, Liverpool have lost Luis Suárez and Chelsea disappointed following José Mourinho’s return to the helm last season, the Gunners will strongly fancy their chances to give the closest rivals a run for their money. Wenger knows he needs strength in depth, and while he has made two decent additions to his squad, he needs cover in a number of areas. Many Gunners fans also believe that while Khedira would be a good acquisition, but where the north Londoners really need to invest is up front. Olivier Giroud needs a partner and someone to share the load in case he goes through another lean spell like last season. Mesut Özil started his first season in 2013/14 very brightly but he faded just a couple of months into the season. Wenger will not want that to happen again, but if it does, he will have someone else to take the pressure off Giroud.
Although the general consensus is Arsenal will again be aiming to finish in fourth, with anything higher a massive bonus, Wenger will feel the added pressure that his first trophy in eight years means Arsenal fans are tasting blood once again. While he remains silent on speculation that Khedira is about to make the switch from to London to Madrid, Wenger is at least showing signs he is now prepared to front up the cash that could finally land Arsenal a finishing spot beyond the fourth place he has become heavily criticized for limiting himself to. Wenger has upped the ante for the new campaign, in more ways than one.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd