Thursday 26 April 2018

Wenger to get £50m transfer war chest

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s major summer business will almost certainly relate to recruiting a world-class central midfielder
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s major summer business will almost certainly relate to recruiting a world-class central midfielder

Jeremy Wilson

Arsène Wenger will have a £50 million transfer budget this summer and will prioritise signing a new central midfielder but will also closely review both the centre-back and goalkeeper positions.

Arsenal have published their half-yearly financial figures and they showed enhanced cash reserves of £138.8 million despite a record level of playing spending over this past year that has now exceeded £100 million.

The added financial firepower is underpinned by new commercial deals, notably the kit partnership with Puma and the extended shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates. Together, they have added more than £40 million to the club's annual turnover. Wenger is not planning a major overhaul to his squad this summer, with the biggest changes likely in central midfield.

Although Krystian Bielik was added in January and Francis Coquelin has emerged as a regular first-team player over the past two months, Wenger's major summer business will almost certainly relate to recruiting a world-class central midfielder. Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin currently heads the list of targets but Wenger has previously also had a bid turned down for Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender.

Abou Diaby is likely to leave when his contract expires this summer although Wenger has delivered a more upbeat prognosis on his comeback from injury and says there will be talks in the coming weeks. Arsenal will also be open to offers this summer for Mathieu Flamini, who has one year remaining on his contract.

It is understood that Wenger is also continuing to scout centre-backs. He bought Gabriel from Villarreal last month and it had been previously assumed that he now felt settled in adding the Brazilian to the existing options of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers. Should Wenger bid for another central defender in the summer, it would suggest either that he sees Chambers' future at full-back or he is now preparing for life after Mertesacker or Koscielny.

Wenger is happy with his attacking options - he also has Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo all out on loan - but the goalkeeper situation may yet be addressed. David Opsina has replaced Wojciech Szczesny in the Premier League and Champions League since New Year's Day but has not looked the commanding presence of a Thibaut Courtois or Petr Cech.

Arsenal's turnover for the six-month period to Nov 30 last year increased to £148.5 million from £135.9 million and the expenditure on new players, notably Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Danny Welbeck, Chambers and Ospina, was £93.7 million. The club still made a profit of £11.1 million although Arsenal have also since bought Bielik and Gabriel. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Arsenal v Everton, live, BT Sport 1, tomorrow, 2.05pm

Telegraph.co.uk

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