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Gunners must not repeat past transfer window mistakes

With Arsenal looking like having to settle for a top-four finish this season at best, many fans are already thinking ahead to the summer transfer window where, it is hoped, the Gunners will splash plenty of cash to ensure a Premier League title challenge in 2014-15 can prove – unlike this year – to be realistic and sustained.

But who are going to be the top targets come June, July and August?

Last summer’s unsuccessful pursuit of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez left Arsenal short up front as Arsene Wenger appeared to have no back-up option to the Uruguayan who, the club clearly thought, would be joining once that infamous ‘get-out clause’ of £40m was triggered.

Of course, it never happened and Wenger was left to try and find another world-class striker to support Olivier Giroud. Sadly, there aren’t many players around of the calibre of Suarez but the fact the cash was eventually splashed on Mesut Ozil instead of a frontman was criticised by plenty of fans who, while acknowledging how good a player the German is, said with some justification that bringing in another playmaker shouldn’t really have been the priority.

So this summer, Wenger – provided he is still in charge – must get it right and set his focus on landing that 20-goal-a-season striker that can ease Giroud’s goal burden and help the Gunners mount a more realistic challenge at the top of the table over the course of a full campaign.

There are several quality forwards widely expected to be on the market over the coming months and if Arsenal are serious about competing with Manchester City, Chelsea and even Liverpool next year, they must be in the mix to sign them along with the rest of Europe’s premier clubs.

Chelsea have seemingly set their sights on Atletico Madrid ace Diego Costa, who is set to be priced at around £50million, and Arsenal are unlikely to be able to compete with them for him but the likes of Edinson Cavani and Mario Mandzukic could be available – provided the club sanction a deal in excess of £25million for one of those two.

Cavani has been widely tipped to leave PSG and apparently fancies a crack in the Premier League. What better place to enhance his reputation than at the Emirates? He would cost at least £40million, possibly more, but would be a sound investment and someone surely who would guarantee you at least 20 goals. Mandzukic, meanwhile, is more of a left-field choice but remains a superb all-round forward who looks ideally suited to playing in England. His future at Bayern Munich is uncertain and the Gunners could possibly prise him away for around £25million, although they would have to see off some stiff competition from Spain and Italy to do so.

Widespread speculation suggests Real Madrid starlet Alvaro Morata is currently Wenger’s main target and he would clearly be a welcome addition to the squad. But he is just 21 and is not yet the finished article. Bringing him in ASWELL AS an established forward would be the dream scenario and would send out a big message to Arsenal’s Premier League rivals that, unlike 12 months ago, the Gunners mean business during the transfer window.

Certainly, if the noises coming out of the Emirates are to be believed, there is a significant transfer kitty available – it must be used wisely.

Plenty hinges, of course, on securing that priceless top-four spot because the aforementioned players will look elsewhere if Arsenal are not among Europe’s elite next term. But provided they do secure their Champions League place, the club must move quickly to identify their top targets, make reasonable offers and strengthen in the right areas.

Hesitancy, as last year proved, can be extremely costly.

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