Now Arsenal have finally brought an end to their trophy drought, Arsene Wenger will be looking at the summer market with much relish.
When Patrick Vieira converted the decisive spot kick to give the Gunners FA Cup glory over Manchester United in 2005, little did their supporters expect to go nine years without tasting success again. However, despite a few near misses, that is exactly what the Emirates Stadium have had to ensure since that afternoon in Cardiff.
But they can finally celebrate again following events on Saturday afternoon, although they were made to sweat after seeing their side go 2-0 down to Hull City in the early stages at Wembley Stadium. But goals from Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny forced extra time, when an Aaron Ramsey strike gave them an 11th FA Cup success.
The relief on Wenger’s face amid the celebrations was clear to see. Even his players knew the pressure the French coach has come under in recent times, so there were no apologies when Lukas Podolski drenched him in champagne or when they all continually threw him up in the air before catching him to the rapturous applause of the fans.
After the match, Wenger confirmed he intended to sign a new deal and remain at Arsenal. With his current contract set to expire next month, he will be given a three-year agreement, which will take the club’s already longest-serving manager to 21 years. And now the silverware drought is over, he will be expected to deliver more before 2017.
There has already been speculation that a bid for Karim Benzema, the France international striker, is being lined up. Such a signing would be a huge tonic for the Gunners, who have over-relied on Olivier Giroud this term. The Real Madrid striker would cost around £30million, which is a figure within Wenger’s budget for the summer. Mario Mandzukic, expected to leave Bayern Munich in the coming weeks, is another possibility.
It looks almost certain that a new right fullback will also be needed, with Bacary Sagna tipped to leave on a Bosman free transfer and join Manchester City. Toulouse’s Serge Aurier and Southampton’s Callum Chambers have been strongly linked, but Wenger could look to take out-of-favour Micah Richards from the Etihad Stadium instead, whilst Blues midfielder James Milner has also been linked with the capital club on Monday.
Spanish daily Marca, meanwhile, claims Barcelona are prepared to cash in on Cesc Fabregas. The former Arsenal captain left London for his first club three years ago, but has come in for some stinging criticism this season. Should it be known that the 27-year-old is available, then it would be no surprise if Wenger was to make an approach to take him back.