Wenger's market moves
Sky Bet's Jamie Casey runs though the odds on the potential transfer targets of Arsene Wenger
By Jamie Casey - Follow me: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 19/08/13 4:08pm
Much has been made of Arsene Wenger's lack of incoming inactivity in the transfer market this summer following Arsenal's dismal opening to the new Premier League campaign.
With Yaya Sanogo their only arrival to date, fans of the club have gone into overdrive with their demands for signings, prompting the Frenchman to ask: "But who?"
Notorious for refusing to splash out without extensive research and reluctant to pay over the odds, Wenger will not be pressurised into a panic buy, thus leaving his own question lingering.
Although cover at centre-half may be required, it's up front where the fans really want investment. Here, Sky Bet runs through the forwards with the shortest odds to sign for Arsenal before the deadline.
Alexis Sanchez - 5/1
After splashing out a reported £48million on Neymar, it was something of a surprise to see the Brazilian make his competitive debut for Barcelona from the bench on Sunday, with Alexis Sanchez scoring within three minutes of their new season after getting the nod from new boss Gerardo Martino. Nonetheless, after scoring just 11 goals last term, Sanchez's future at Barca is uncertain, with Lionel Messi, Pedro and Neymar likely to play ahead of him in the long run. The club could be tempted to offload the Chilean in favour of drafting in youth to support the main trio, and Sky Bet make Arsenal the 5/1 favourites for his signature. Former club Udinese are second favourites at 9/1, but the Gunners are the only side of any interest to the punters.
Wayne Rooney - 6/1
On the back of Chelsea's two failed bids for Wayne Rooney, punters have been keeping an eye on Arsenal's price to sign the England striker. Earlier this summer, Arsene Wenger refused to rule out a bid for Rooney and, having been knocked back in his efforts to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Luiz Gustavo since, chances are he'll confirm interest in the 27-year-old with a bid. Manchester United have shown their reluctance to sell to a direct rival, but may not see the Gunners as big a threat as Chelsea, and Sky Bet go 6/1 on Rooney being an Arsenal player come September 3rd. Wenger's club has attracted more Rooney bets than the Blues, although there's more money riding on Jose Mourinho landing the player.
Edin Dzeko - 8/1
Amid their pursuit of Luis Suarez this summer and mooted interest in Rooney, Arsene Wenger appears no longer fearful of the domestic transfer market, although he would surely approach with caution. With Manchester City having again invested heavily up front in Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko must be wondering what he has to do to earn a starting berth at the club. How highly new manager Manuel Pellegrini rates the Bosnian remains to be seen, but Dzeko has often expressed his frustration at the rotation role he's had to play since his £27million move from Wolfsburg, so a move to the Gunners would surely appeal. However, with Olivier Giroud showing signs of encouragement in front of goal, Wenger may prefer a more creative forward than Dzeko to partner the Frenchman.
Mesut Ozil - 14/1
So long as Real Madrid's pursuit of Gareth Bale rumbles on, uncertainty will surround the futures of several of their attacking players, most notably Kaka, Luka Modric and Mesut Ozil. Of that trio, Ozil is likely to appeal the most to Wenger, with Modric perhaps too similar to Santi Cazorla to consider. Ozil, who was hauled off in favour of Angel Di Maria in Carlo Ancelotti's first league game in charge on Sunday, can play in a more advanced role, just behind the striker and could prove the perfect foil for Arsenal's current marksman Giroud, and is 14/1 to sign before the deadline, half the odds of Di Maria's (28/1) price to do likewise. Punters aren't convinced, though, with only favourites Manchester United (3/1) proving popular in the betting stakes.
Willian - 20/1
Although Tottenham (8/13) and Liverpool (11/8) appear to be leading the race to sign Willian, the Daily Mail reports that Arsenal have asked to be kept informed of developments in the Brazilian's future. Sky Bet make the Gunners 20/1 outsiders on that basis, but the Anzhi playmaker is available for around £25m, significantly less than Luis Suarez or Wayne Rooney, albeit without the Premier League experience. At the moment, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United, who have distanced themselves from a move, have all attracted more interest from punters, but the bottom line is Wenger could steal a march on Spurs and the Reds by offering Champions League football, but his interest in the player is thought to be minimal.
Erik Lamela - 20/1
Roma's emerging forward Erik Lamela is rumoured to be on the wishlist of Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, but Arsenal are listed as outsiders in Sky Bet's transfer specials. Spurs are evens to sign the 21-year-old Argentine, who scored 15 goals in Serie A last season and has developed a reputation for the spectacular, but could be put off by the alarming £30million price tag the Italian club have slapped on him, having already invested heavily in Paulinho and Roberto Soldado this summer. That could pave the way for Arsenal, who have barely touched their summer budget, to hijack any proposed move, but it's considered a long shot at 20/1.
New customers of Sky Bet can claim a free £10 bet without deposit.