Ex-Arsenal player Alan Smith believes Arsene Wenger is changing his transfer policy, citing interest in Liverpool striker Luis Suarez as proof.
The Gunners have been heavily linked with the wantaway Uruguayan international and Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain as well, as Wenger looks to strengthen the north London club ahead of the 2013/14 Premier League season.
"Two years ago Wenger wouldn't have gone near Suarez with a barge pole. That's nothing to do with his ability because he's one of the best strikers around, but [the bid] marks a change in Arsenal's policy. The fact they are going for... proven talent who can produce straight away but also introduce a bit more of an edge to the side," the 50-year-old former striker said.
According to the Guardian, Wenger has returned with an improved £35m offer for Suarez, as the Anfield star continues to court a move away from the Merseyside club this summer. In addition, The Sun believes a £23m deal for Higuain is close to completion as well and a similarly-sized bid for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini cannot be ruled out.
Meanwhile, Smith believes Wenger should also focus on signing a new goalkeeper and a central defender, to complete the overhaul of the Gunners' first team.
"I'd also like to see another centre-back and, in goal, is Wojciech Szczesny ready to be keeping goal for Arsenal week-in, week-out? An experienced keeper could be needed as well," he explained, echoing unrelated rumours, reported by the Metro, linking Newcastle United's Tim Krul to the club.
Finally, Smith becomes another Arsenal advocate to touch on managerial changes across the top clubs in the Premier League and hope this can give the Gunners an advantage. Champions Manchester United, former champions Manchester City and Chelsea all have new coaches, with David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho taking control at Old Trafford, the Etihad and Stamford Bridge respectively; although, technically, Mourinho is not a new manager.
"Changes at United, City and Chelsea could be an advantage for Arsenal, who are a very stable club with one of the best managers around. Obviously Mourinho going back isn't a huge change but Pellegrini will need time to adjust..., as might David Moyes, who has made a huge step up to United and you couldn't blame him for feeling daunted by that," Smith concluded.
Arsenal open their campaign at home to Aston Villa, while United travel to Wigan Athletic, City host Newcastle and Chelsea entertain newcomers Hull City.