Arsenal close to signing Luiz Gustavo and hold out hope for Luis Suárez
Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, will this week push to close the signing of the defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Bayern Munich while he has yet to give up on the Liverpool striker Luis Suárez, who remains their leading target.
Wenger, who has so far this summer added only the France youth international striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre, knows that his squad needs reinforcements, not least because he has moved on a host of players. It can be argued that the manager did not replace the deep-sitting midfielder Alex Song last summer after he joined Barcelona but the move for Gustavo is intended to address that.
Wenger confirmed his interest in the 26-year-old Brazil international after Arsenal's pre-season friendly win by 3-1 over Manchester City in Helsinki on Saturday, although he said there was "nothing concrete yet". Arsenal hope to make decisive progress in the coming days.
Arsenal tried to sign the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender earlier in the summer, only to see an £18.5m inquiry rejected by the German club, and they had previously followed the Toulouse midfielder Etienne Capoue, bidding unsuccessfully for him last January. Capoue is now poised to join Tottenham Hotspur for €11m (£9.5m).
Gustavo, who was not a first-choice selection for Bayern during their all-conquering season last time out despite his top-level quality, missed his club's opening Bundesliga match last Friday against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Arsenal believe he is worth about £14m.
They also feel that their protracted pursuit of Suárez has not yet run its course, despite the strong words of the Liverpool owner John W Henry, who said last Thursday he was "unequivocal that we won't sell to Arsenal, whatever the bid is".
Arsenal continue to wonder whether there is any way that Suárez could play for Liverpool again, after he said that he wanted to go and accused the club of broken promises. They know how difficult it is to keep an unhappy player who has gone public over his desire to leave, having lost Robin van Persie to Manchester United last summer. Arsenal were categoric that they would not sell Van Persie to a rival but it did not matter.
They have had two bids turned down by Liverpool for Suarez, the second of a pound over £40m, which was intended to test a clause in the Uruguayan's contract. It has not had the desired effect. Arsenal are prepared to make a third offer.