Things looking up for Arsenal... at last


Strange things are afoot at Arsenal. Established international players people have actually heard of keep rocking up claiming to have signed for the club. First came Lukas Podolski – before last season had even finished – then Olivier Giroud, top scorer in Ligue 1 in 2011/12. Stranger yet, Podolski is 27 and Giroud 25, so both should be ready to go as soon as they're out of their boxes. There's no talk of potential here.

Rumours that Yann M'Vila may join them have quietened since it became apparent that he's a maniac who was part of the group of France players who had a ding-dong with Laurent Blanc at Euro 2012. However, Arsenal have also been strongly linked with Anderlecht and Argentina's Lucas Biglia, another defensive midfielder. It's encouraging that Arsene Wenger is obviously looking to strengthen here as Alex Song has had little competition for his place and has always been prone to bouts of poor form.

Efforts are also being made to quickly move on those who are deemed surplus to requirements. Sebastian Squillaci, for instance, is set to move to Bastia. His spell in North London emphatically didn't work out; most Arsenal fans just call him Sebastian Aci now.

Andrei Arshavin is apparently attracting interest from Galatasaray - where he can be reunited with Eboueman – and, according to his agent, Nicklas Bendtner is attracting “global” interest. Despite this, the deity is said to favour a move back to his native Asgard, as he'll find the standard slightly more challenging.

Elsewhere there's talk of Aaron Ramsey moving to Fulham either permanently or on loan – which seems unlikely – while Marouane Chamakh, Park Chu-Young, Carlos Vela and Brazilian crab Denilson are all likely to be sold.

If all the deals that are being mooted go through this will be one of the most active summers of Arsene Wenger's reign. This is something the club has needed for years given the Groundhog Day feel of each passing campaign.

Clearly the lessons of last summer's late panic-buying have been learned and efforts have been made to make decisive changes quickly. That it's late June and two major signings have been made in a tournament year is most un-Arsenal.

It bodes well for the fans. Strength in depth has been an issue for a long time, particularly up front, and it's an issue that looks like it's being solved, though there is of course one potential nightmare up ahead.

Robin van Persie has a year left on his contract and as yet has not signed an extension. Manchester City are keen according to the papers, though of course this is an easy story to make up – Stoke are also keen on Lionel Messi according to “sources”. Let's see how that one runs now that it's out in the public domain.

Compared to recent summer transfer sagas this one has been fairly quiet, partly due to the Euros but also perhaps because of Arsenal's positive transfer activity. Is this a signal of intent to van Persie? Has Wenger accepted that the game has changed and made his old philosophy too risky? Even as it stands, if van Persie stays, Arsenal now have some forward line, albeit a very left-footed one.

It appears that we've finally arrived at the nadir, that losing another star player is just unacceptable and that it's time to wake up and compete again. If it absolutely comes to it Wenger has the option to hold his captain to the remaining year of his contract and even if it means losing out on a windfall, for me this is a risk worth taking.