As some of the more alert Arsenal fans will have recognized over the last few years, Arsene Wenger seems to have national or regional phases when it comes to signing players.
The latest trend that has taken our French leader by storm comes in the form of Latin flair, and more specifically; a South American contingent.
With a first team squad that completely lacked in South Americans at the start of the season (aside from third choice goalkeeper, Damian Martinez), Wenger set out to change that with the help of his scouting team.
By the end of January, the Gunners had three important first-teamers from the continent in the form of Alexis Sanchez of Chile, David Ospina of Colombia, and Gabriel Paulista of Brazil.
Wenger’s intentions were clear as he hoped to promote more team cohesion by bringing these South Americans together and according to the ever-growing rumour mill, that may not be set to change.
Several South American superstars have been pointed out as potential Arsenal targets and may have a future at the Emirates. The likes of the Chilean, Arturo Vidal, the Argentinian, Gonzalo Higuain and the Colombian, Jackson Martinez have all been linked with the Gunners recently, any of which could slide right into the first team.
As of now, one would say the recent influx has been a success as Sanchez has been Arsenal’s player of the season, Gabriel definitely looks like a promising defender and Ospina has done well to keep his place ahead of Wojciech Szczesny.
Only time will tell us of the success or failure of Wenger’s South American raid in the long term as previous influxes of nationalities have been fairly brief.
The recent German influx seems to have slowed to a halt with the loaning out of Lukas Podolski (to take away from Serge Gnabry, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Özil).
Rumours of the addition of Lars Bender, Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels, and Ilkay Gündogan to the Arsenal squad have all died out and are unlikely to be revived.
Future national trends appear to be forming for the Gunners though – if the rumours are anything to go by.
A familiar nation appears to be coming back into fashion for Wenger as he never strays too far away from France. Names that have been thrown into discussion from Arsene’s birth nation have included Morgan Schneiderlin, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and even Karim Benzema (again). As with the South Americans, each of these players would have a very good chance of moving straight into the first team and with any luck, Arsenal could sign any of the three.
Another couple of contenders that could further Arsenal’s already prevalent national cliques are coming out of Spain and England.
Though the likelihood of these players joining Arsenal appear to be much lower for various reasons, the media has linked the North London side to Barcelona’s Pedro and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling. If Arsene were looking for more countries to try and raid to further nationalities to current players, those two would be a good start.
Having said that, no one can read Wenger’s mind as well as the minds of his scouting team regarding his true transfer intentions. All we can do is keep our eyes glued to the social media accounts that the club frequently updates for the latest news on how Wenger plans to further his team cohesion with the transfer market.
Whatever isn’t official remains as speculation but that in of itself has merit and what else is there to do over the extended summer break that most club football fans have to endure (shout-out to all MLS fans that are reading)?
For all we know, Wenger could have a trick up his sleeve and come July 1st, he could unveil a trio of fresh Belgians, or Italians, or even Portuguese or Dutch players.
For now, all we can do is guess and soak up the wealth of rumours that flood our feeds. I for one, am excited as all other Arsenal fans should be too. We’re starting to demand a Premier League winning squad and our big Frenchman at the helm may just be ready to deliver.