Arsene Wenger will be given a budget of £50million to improve his Arsenal squad when the transfer window reopens during the summer.
A 3-1 home defeat to Monaco on Wednesday evening appears to have ended the Gunners involvement in the UEFA Champions League at the first knockout round for the fifth successive season, but more than this, it further demonstrated how far they are behind the teams who are superior to their French opponents. And as they prepare for the final 12 matches of the Premier League season a dozen points behind leaders Chelsea, a first title since 2004 is looking unlikely to say the least.
Having ended their trophy drought by beating Hull City in last season’s FA Cup final, Wenger spent over £70million last summer, with Alex Sanchez, at £30million from Barcelona, the most expensive recruit. Despite this outlay, which also included France international Mathieu Debuchy and Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck, they progress has been minimal at best this term.
According to The Telegraph, the Arsenal board will show more trust in Wenger by handing him a further £50million to spend when the window reopens at the end of the campaign. It is understood the French coach will target a new central midfield player, whilst a better goalkeeper than current options Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina is wanted, and there is also a possibility that two new central defenders will be recruited to replace the current pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker.
Morgan Schneiderlin has enjoyed another fine season in the heart of the Southampton engine room, and Wenger is expected to make a move for his 25-year-old compatriot. However, the Saints, who are competing for a top-four finish this term, are unlikely to sell for less than £25million. Lars Bender, the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, is another possibility, and would be a cheaper alternative, whilst the Gunners will listen to offers for Mathieu Flamini and offload the out-of-contract Abou Diaby.
Although Wenger spent £11million on Gabriel Paulista, the Villarreal star, last month, he is keen to add at least one more top central defender to his numbers. It is unclear who the FA Cup holders are targeting for this position, but whoever is signed could find themselves defending a goal marshalled by Petr Cech next season. Arsenal have made the Czech Republic international their top goalkeeper target, and hope to persuade Chelsea, who prefer Thibaut Courtois, to let him move across the capital.