Theo Walcott was given a chance to push for a starting role with struggling, but it went pretty badly. Victory for Arsenal, but far from convincing in pursuit of lofty ambitions...
With Arsenal willing to pay the big bucks to sign Luis Suarez, it's perhaps a surprise that they have thus far declined to make an offer for Rooney. Although Manchester United have refused to sell the striker to Chelsea owing to the fear of strengthening a title rival, Arsenal possibly stand a better chance of negotiating a deal considering they finished three places and 16 points behind the champions last season. Rooney appears to be an excellent fit for the Gunners and would surely excel in his preferred number nine role ahead of midfield schemer Santi Cazorla. It has been reported that Rooney would consider a move to Arsenal as an alternative to Chelsea, but concerns over his fitness and long-term contribution may have been the reason Wenger favoured a move for Suarez.
The Premier League bargain of last season grabbed three goals against the Gunners and stole the show in Swansea's 2-0 victory at the Emirates in December. Michu's performances forced Wenger to confess he was a player "who never came to my attention" and it's likely Arsenal would now have to pay ten times Swansea's lay-out last summer to acquire the striker. Considering Swansea play a variant of Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 formation, one would assume that Michu would have few problems settling into the team and taking advantage of the chances created by Cazorla and Theo Walcott. The Spaniard notched 18 goals in the top flight in his debut campaign - 38% of Swansea's total and seven more than Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski - and that he also grabbed strikes against Man United, Chelsea and Spurs suggests he could prove a useful signing for Arsenal.
During his ham-fisted explanation of why he overlooked Michu, Wenger argued that Arsenal fans "want to see Lionel Messi. They don't want to see a promising guy." If that's true then Muriel is probably not the ideal alternative to Suarez, but in a market suffering a shortage of compelling striking options the young Colombian is an excellent prospect. At 22, Muriel's attributes are still raw, but this would allow Wenger a certain amount of flexibility in how he moulds the striker to fit his team. Muriel grabbed 11 goals from just 41 shots in his 22 appearances for Udinese last year and his talent has already been recognised by Colombia coach Jose Pekerman in the build up to next summer's World Cup.
Reports on Thursday suggested Martinez could be on his way to Napoli for €32million, but with a deal yet to be concluded there is still time for Arsenal to pounce. One way to succeed in the transfer market is to look at whoever Porto are buying and try to hijack the deal. It was reported that Liverpool passed up the opportunity to sign Martinez last summer and, like Falcao before him, the Colombian instead moved to Porto for just under £8million. One year and 29 goals later, the 26-year-old's reputation has soared and it seems his club might be tempted to cash in as they continue to conquer the market. It's debatable whether Martinez would be a perfect fit for Arsenal, but neither have Giroud or Podolski proven themselves to be capable of leading the line and the Colombian would bring a ruthless edge that the Gunners lacked at times last season.
If Arsenal miss out on Suarez, one option for Wenger is to pursue an older, short-term target to tide the Gunners over until January or next summer. Despite his excellent performances in Brazil's Confederations Cup victory, signing Fred is unlikely to excite expectant Gooners rubbing their hands at the prospect of a £40m+ deal for Suarez. However, it would be foolish for Arsenal to show desperation and rush into another expensive transfer if an agreement cannot be struck with Liverpool and so a short-term addition could be the ideal solution. Fred possesses superb finishing ability and, if reports of a £2million release clause in his Fluminense contract are true, it would mark him out to be remarkable value. Although it's four years since he last played in Europe, the former Lyon striker may be tempted for a last big earner in the Premier League and at 29 there is still time for him to enjoy a short spell at Arsenal before playing out the remainder of his career back in Brazil.
Matt Stanger - follow him on Twitter.