Here are the five best players Arsenal have been linked with signing over the past seven days. Are these stars ones who will actually be arriving at the Emirates?
These players are the ones at the top of the scale, ones which few fans will be confident the club will actually go out and buy. But if Van Persie does leave, the club will need to spend to convince fans of their ambition and quell the dissent.
Talk of David Villa signing with Arsenal went into overdrive on Saturday night, with the Barcelona striker trending on Twitter. If the Spaniard really did sign with Arsenal, the team would arguably be better off than it was with Van Persie. Villa is a proven star, and it is no exaggeration to say his injury cost Barcelona last season. At 30 he still has much to offer, and any club which did sign him would pull of a major coup, but it is unlikely Barcelona would want to sell. There is little concrete fact to link him with Arsenal, talk of a transfer was simply rumour, which naturally caught like wildfire because of his talent. Chances of it happening: 1/5
Brazilian midfielder Ganso was subject of another 'hoax' when rumours of him signing with Arsenal circulated on Sunday night. The Brazilian playmaker has an ongoing contract dispute with Santos, feeling he is undervalued in comparison with star man Neymar. Manchester United and Chelsea have both been linked with the player, and he is coveted by a number of European clubs. Like David Villa, talk of him going to Arsenal is pure speculation, and while his talent fits Wenger's vision for the club, his price tag may not, with him expected to cost around £20 million. He would not fit the bill for a Van Persie replacement, but he could be the sort of target Arsenal need if they are to convince the Dutchman to stay. Chances of it happening: 2/5
Former Arsenal star Ray Parlour is responsible for this one, insisting that if Arsenal lose Van Persie, they must hit straight back by signing the Senegal ace from Newcastle. It would be similar to Liverpool acting quickly to replace Torres with Carroll, except in Cisse, Arsenal fans would be much happier with their replacement. The problem with Parlour's theory is, Arsenal would have to spend more to acquire Cisse than they would receive for Van Persie, Newcastle do not need to sell and would force them to pay a ransom. Signing Demba Ba for his £7 million buyout clause is much more Arsenal's style. Chances of it happening: 1/5
Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic has emerged as a genuine target for the Gunners over the past few days. The talented Montenegro attacker can play as an out and out striker, and as a number 10, and his clever movement and versatility could suit Arsenal's style of play. He is just 22, but a proven talent, a regular performer in Serie A, and stood out against Liverpool as a teenager in the Champions League when the Reds were last in the competition. A stumbling block for Arsenal is the interest from Chelsea, and Juventus are also strong admirers of the player, and the Italian champions are reported to be lining him up if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of Van Persie. Chances of it happening: 2/5
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was strongly linked with Arsenal at the tail end of last week - and he is the exception on this list, a top class talent who Arsenal arguably don't actually need. The French international is available from Lyon for around £15 million, but there is a question over whether Arsenal actually need him with Wojciech Szczesny's emergence between the sticks. The latest talk is that Arsenal's rivals Tottenham Hotspur are emerging as front runners for his signature, as they seek to find a long-term solution in goal with Brad Friedel reaching 41. Lloris is top class, but it could damage Szczesny's development, and for that reason we can't see it happening, with more pressing issues for Arsenal to address elsewhere. Chances of it happening: 1/5
Analysis: It's good to dream Gunners, but the five players above who the club have been linked with are all more unlikely than likely to be wearing Arsenal shirts next season. Arsenal's track record of reluctance to pay big money for players means that even if Van Persie is sold, spending big on a striker is not necessarily the route the Gunners would go down. The most intriguing of the five is Stefan Jovetic, while Ganso could be the missing ingredient needed to convince Van Persie to stay. If they could manage that, then suddenly the club will be on the up again.
Which of these five interest you the most? Who should Arsenal sign?
image: © adifansnet