By Dennis Mabuka
Former Arsenal star Perry Groves has joined the growing chorus urging Arsene Wenger to invest heavily this summer – and he believes Celtic’s star midfielder Victor Wanyama should be his first transfer target.
Arsenal finished the season on a high by taking fourth place, and denying bitter rivals Tottenham the final Champions League spot – but two-times title winner Groves says his old club must aim higher next term and beyond.
And the acquisition of long-term target Wanyama – Scotland’s young player of the year – would be a good start, says Groves, who is a cult hero among Gunners fans after a six-year stint at the club between 1986 and 1992.
Grove told London 24, “We need big players who can step up to the plate and make an impact against the bigger teams, because that is what let us down last year – we had a woeful record against the other teams in the top four,” adds Groves.
“We need strong mentalities, players who can impose themselves. I would like to see experienced lads who can come straight into the starting XI, not players who take time to gel.
“I really like Wanyama – he is destined for big things. He may be young but he plays for a massive club, has lots of experience for a young player, and he fits the Wenger model – he is hungry, strong and technically very good.
“I think he would offer real protection for the back four, and a real thrust and drive going forward.”
Wanyama has so far refused to extend his Parkhead contract which runs to 2015, and looks destined to move this summer.
New Inter boss Walter Mazzarri has earmarked the Kenyan as a candidate for his rebuilding job at the San Siro – a move which would see the midfielder link up with his older brother McDonald Mariga.
Wanyama turned down a new Celtic contract in October and at the time boss Neil Lennon slapped a £25million valuation on the player snapped up from Belgians Germinal Beerschot for £900,000 in 2011.
Inter’s interest in Wanyama is a twist to the plot which always had the powerhouse as a target for the Premier League.
Wanyama’s older brother McDonald Mariga is still contracted to Inter despite spending the last three seasons on loan to Real Sociedad in Spain and then Serie A rivals Parma.