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Edu's Crazy Summer; Arsenal Aiming High in the Transfer Market

Edu has made it clear from his activity so far in the transfer window that he values the players Arsenal already have. In the past month, there's been good progress on a new contract for William Saliba and discussions opened with both Ben White and club captain Martin Odegaard over new deals, with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli already committing to Mikel Arteta's side.

Arsenal Women quartet Kim Little, Steph Catley, Frida Manuum and Caitlin Foord have all signed deals in the last month as well.

That's just the tip of the iceberg though for Arsenal, with several big names in the men's and women's games linked with a summer move to play Champions League football in London.

Declan Rice has made the most headlines so far, with the Gunners having an £80m+ bid rejected by West Ham. It's thought that this was just to test the waters however, with the Gunners preparing a bid worth over £100m for the England midfielder.

This would be a big step for the Gunners, breaking the triple-digit barrier for the first time. Arsenal have often struggled to lock down key targets in the past couple of years but internally the club are confident of bringing Rice up to North London on a long-term contract.

With Brighton setting Moises Caicedo's price at £120m, it seems unlikely the Gunners will move for the Ecuadorian, making the Rice deal that much more important. Rice has proven his class at West Ham, leading a mid to low-table Premier League team to a European title as a 24-year-old captain.

Similarly to Rice for the men's team, Alessio Russo is a key target for Jonas Eidevall's women's team. Arsenal launched two world-record bids for the England striker in January, both of which were rejected by title rivals Manchester United.

Russo's departure from Old Trafford has already been confirmed, with the Gunners the favourites to secure her signature for next season. It would be a huge blow for United to lose Russo to a rival, especially one who finished just below them in the WSL last season. The irony in United rejected the world record offer only to lose Russo for free will sting for the whole Summer.

Arsenal were plagued with attacking injuries throughout the 2022/2023 season. It was only in the first two months of the season that all of their attackers were fit, and in that time they didn't lose a single game. In fact, much like the men's team, the first-choice XI didn't drop a point all season

Adding Russo to the plethora of attacking talent at the Emirates will make Arsenal fierce title contenders once again. It's almost frightening to imagine her in a front four with Caitlin Foord, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema.

Another attacker linked to the Emirates, perhaps surprisingly, is Kai Havertz. The German has had a very successful Chelsea career, performing well personally even during a dismal season for the West London club.

It's gone under the radar that quite a few Chelsea players will be looking to leave the club because of their desire to play European football. Arsenal were impressed by how well Havertz was able to perform even when those around him couldn't do so. He's also got experience playing in the biggest of games, scoring the winning goal in the 2021 Champions League final.

It feels very much like another Jorginho deal for Arsenal fans. Many were sceptical to start with, but after his strike which led to the winning own goal at Villa Park, his name was being belted out from the away end in the Birmingham sunshine. Havertz will need to do a little more than that given that the fee will likely be around £50m, but he does offer Arsenal something different.

Whilst Gabriel Jesus was sidelined with injury, Eddie Nketiah filled in up top most of the time. He did a fairly good job, scoring five times, but he was playing as an out-and-out striker. That's not how Arsenal like to play.

Leandro Trossard was slightly more successful in the role but was still playing out of position. Kai Havertz fits that role perfectly. On top of that, he's versatile, with the ability to play on either wing or in the number ten position when Odegaard needs a rest.

With one signing, Arsenal can boost their depth in four positions. It might not seem all that obvious, but this could be a fantastic signing for the Gunners as they prepare to play Champions League football once again.

Speaking of top Champions League talent, Rafaelle Souza left Arsenal at the end of her contract this Summer. With England captain Leah Williamson out for at least half of next season with her ACL injury, it's almost certain that the Gunners will move for at least one top-class centre-back, preferably with Champions League experience.

The most likely target at the moment is Bayern Munich defender Glodis Perla Viggosdottir. The Icelandic centre-half has Champions League experience with the Germans, including two games against Arsenal in this year's competition.

She's won two Icelandic league titles and two cups in her home country, as well as the Swedish and German leagues. She would be a fantastic fit for the Gunners with plenty of club and International experience, and despite the fact that she played handball until she was 15, she very rarely gives away penalties, something Arsenal have struggled with this season.

As well as Viggosdottir, Arsenal are monitoring Benfica and Canada forward Cloe Lacasse. Like Viggosdottir, Lacasse has title-winning experience in Iceland. She moved on to Portugal in 2019, where she has won three league titles and two cup titles with Benfica and was named the league's player of the season in 2022/2023, scoring 20 goals in 20 appearances.

She is a fantastic forward and a real leader, a welcome addition to any club. It may well be a case of waiting until after the World Cup to gauge her availability, as she'll almost certainly be representing Canada in Australia/New Zealand this Summer. Arsenal would do well to sign Lacasse, as she is a trophy-winning machine.

As long as we're talking about title-winning machines, it's only right to mention Ilkay Gundogan. Arsenal aren't quite as confident in securing his signature, with Barcelona and a number of Saudi Arabian clubs interested in the German, but remain interested.

Manchester City are planning to offer their captain a new deal before his current contract expires in two weeks' time, but if Gundogan were to turn that offer down, his connection with Mikel Arteta could lure him to North London.

Timothy Castagne has been linked to the Emirates as well as Joao Cancelo with Mikel Arteta keen for Ben White to return to his central defensive role.

Levante duo Tatiana Pinto and Paula Tomas have both been linked to Arsenal Women but without any concrete discussions taking place so far. Very few deals are likely to be agreed before the World Cup, which doesn't finish until 20th August.

The successful seasons enjoyed by both Arsenal teams have hatched ambitious plans in Edu's mind. The Spaniard has been very successful so far in bringing in highly talented men and women and is well-poised to lead the club to an even more exciting transfer window this Summer.

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