“Big Spender Wenger” reads Sunday’s Daily Mail front page.
England’s second-largest paper has put all its eggs in Arsenal’s basket, announcing they have piled together a shocking £62 million ($96.5 million) coffer to be used on bids for three players – Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain, Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender.
Arsenal haven’t been known as spenders the last few years, even registering a positive net transfer total.
Higuain-to-Arsenal rumors aren’t just coming from the Daily Mail – they’ve been making the rounds the past few days. It’s been backed up by Spanish paper Marca, saying Arsenal have made an initial bid but it fell short of Madrid’s €30 million ($39.6 million) evaluation of the player.
Marca even mentioned things could get interesting as Gonzalo’s father and former Argentinian Primera Division star Jorge Higuain is possibly involved in the transfer, having already met with Wenger.
Higuain did confirm last week that he will leave Real Madrid this summer, with Juventus also rumored to be heavily in the mix.
The Gundogan and Bender rumors, however, are new to the scene that are all the Mail‘s creation.
Dortmund’s attacking midfielder impressed mightily in their Champions League run, giving pace, precision, and a cutting edge to the Dortmund attack while dishing the ball out wide as well as through the middle.
Gundogan’s just 22 years old, and would be a huge loss for the Black Yellows, especially as they try to compete with treble-winning Bayern Munich next season in the Bundesliga.
The Bender rumor, on the other hand, actually seems to make a great deal of sense. Arsenal are a perfect fit for physical midfielders such as Bender, and could use his versatility as a wide midfielder as well. While Leverkusen qualified for the Champions League last season by finishing third in the Bundesliga, it would make sense for the club to move Bender, as it would net them a huge profit. Valued at around €20 million ($26.4 million), he was bought for just €2.5 million ($3.3 million) from German second-tier club TSV 1860 Munich.
Bender played in the German 4-3 defeat to the United States last week.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis hinted a few days ago that the club had money to spend, saying, “We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve and we also have new revenue streams coming on board. All of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you. We can think about all kinds of things.”
This is a bold move by the Daily Mail, but if even one of these three moves comes off, it represents a major change in transfer policy for Arsenal, something fans will welcome with open arms.