Gunners keen to add midfielder and striker to their ranks.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to continue his big spending from the summer as he lines up a double raid on Italian giants AC Milan for experienced midfielder Nigel De Jong and promising young striker M’Baye Niang, CaughtOffside understands.
The Gunners boss has identified the pair as realistic targets as he seeks to bolster a squad somewhat lacking in depth at the moment in several key areas, including defensive midfield and attack.
Although Wenger already brought in Mathieu Flamini from Milan this summer, the free transfer of the Frenchman does not look like the ideal solution to the team’s problems, as they still lack a quality replacement for Alex Song, who was sold to Barcelona last summer.
The north London side were also linked with the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Joshua Guilavogui in the final weeks of the summer transfer window, though they missed out on both players as they made moves elsewhere, leaving Wenger to resort to the somewhat stop-gap signing of Flamini after his release from the San Siro side.
De Jong, who signed for Milan only last summer, spent five years in the Premier League with Manchester City, and looks like the ideal competitive midfield anchor man that Arsenal need at the moment, with the 28-year-old Dutchman a highly experienced player in that position and a top performer for City during his time at the Etihad Stadium.
However, he has not always been a regular at his new club, and may seek a move away if he continues not to feature regularly enough to put himself in contention for a spot in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad next summer, and he would almost certainly be first choice at the Emirates Stadium.
He could also come at a reasonable cost, with just over a year-and-a-half remaining on his current contract, and signing initially for just £5m for Milan, meaning Arsenal will make an opening offer in that region.
Arsenal will also hope to strike a deal for young striker Niang, who is an outstanding prospect but who has failed to live up to expectations so far in Italy, scoring just one goal in 24 appearances last season.
Still only 18, he has made great strides in his career so far having made his breakthrough in Ligue 1 with Caen and attracting interest from a host of top clubs around Europe. His skillful style of play alongside his physical build has seen him draw comparisons with Milan star Mario Balotelli, and Wenger would no doubt relish the chance to nurture this fine young talent.
Niang would likely cost £10m or more, and would be the ideal solution to Arsenal’s current lack of depth upfront, with only untried youngster Yaya Sanogo behind Olivier Giroud in the pecking order at the moment.
These moves signal Arsenal’s renewed ambition in the transfer market, after they surprised the footballing world with a £42m deal for Mesut Ozil on deadline day.