Transfer news: Arsenal could respond to criticism with £35m double-offer for Swansea duo Ashley Williams and Michu

The Gunners have been linked with Williams throughout the summer while the club's failure to sign Luis Suarez could lead to bid for Spanish striker

Staff,James Olley
Monday 19 August 2013 15:08
Michu and Ashley Williams could be the subject of a £35m double offer from Arsenal
Michu and Ashley Williams could be the subject of a £35m double offer from Arsenal

Arsenal could be about to launch a £35m double offer for Swansea duo Michu and Ashley Williams as the club look to react to Saturday’s shock 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa as well as the mounting criticism over their lack of new signings.

The Gunners finished with 10 men after Laurent Koscielny was shown a second yellow card, while two penalties were given away – first by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny followed by the controversial decision to penalise Koscielny after he lunged in on Gabriel Agbonlahor in the box.

As reported in The Evening Standard, the side were booed off by home fans at the final whistle, and chants of “spend some f*****g money” rang out around the Emirates in what was another dark day for the north London side.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust last night called for a delay to talks regarding a new contract for manager Arsene Wenger with his current deal expiring next summer, claiming the matter “is inappropriate” when the club desperately need to be signing players ahead of the September 2 deadline.

They have brought in 20-year-old striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer, but have been largely frustrated in their attempts to sign others including Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, Luiz Gustavo, Wayne Rooney and now Yohan Cabaye following a reported £10m rejected offer.

Wenger has admitted he wants “two or three” signings and is now considering moving for a couple of players he has tracked for some time.

Michu enjoyed a hugely successful first season in English football, scoring 22 goals. It is understood that Swansea are reluctant to sell but have valued the 27-year-old at £25m in the knowledge that a bid at that level would be hard to reject, especially with Michael Laudrup still keen to add to his squad.

Arsenal view that figure as excessive, especially given Michu cost Swansea just £2m from Rayo Vallecano last summer but in the context of their other centre-forward targets, the deal could prove attractive.

Liverpool remain adamant Suarez will not be sold this month and the Gunners have not been encouraged to make a new bid.

The Gunners retain an interest in Rooney but with Manchester United equally robust in their stance blocking the 27-year-old’s departure, Michu has emerged as an intriguing alternative.

The Spaniard signed a new contract in January but is thought to earn only £30,000-a-week as a basic wage before a variety of add-ons so Arsenal could offer Michu a significant increase.

The club had a £6m offer for Williams rejected this month but believe a deal could be reached at around £10m. Wenger is reluctant to go that high but the furore surrounding the club’s poor start could only intensify this week should they falter in Wednesday’s Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce in Turkey.

Arsenal’s honorary vice-president Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith joined the dissenters last night when she claimed on Twitter to regret selling her shares to Stan Kroenke in 2011.

Bracewell-Smith wrote: “What a shame the board recommended a Kroenke takeover and paid Rothchilds 3m fee. And how deeply I regret selling to Kroenke. #AFC”

Bracewell-Smith also called for Alisher Usmanov to have a seat on the board and again called for the return of David Dein to help Wenger negotiate on transfers.

“Bring David Dein and give Usmanov representation on the board if we are to have success going forward. #AFC,” she said.

The comments have since been deleted from her timeline.

Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky all expected to be fit for Wednesday’s game after sustaining injuries against Villa but Bacary Sagna remains a doubt.

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