By Matthew Snyder

The approaching summer months have Arsenal fans chomping at the bit.

Arsenal Transfers: What the Fans Want vs. What Will Really Happen This Summer

With Arsenal in fine form in the league, winning eight of their last nine fixtures, a streak that has fired them into firm footing in third place, fans are already turning their heads toward next season, with thoughts of silverware in their mind’s eye.

With the last trophy having come in in 2005, it’s hard to blame them.

But this Arsenal side looks as if it can make a run for glory. It’s certainly a reasonable expectation at this point.

What fans want, though, is for manager Arsene Wenger to build upon this new momentum and strengthen the side with some new acquisitions in the summer.

If, say, another defender was brought in, along with a couple attacking options to give Arsene some cover at the forward position should one particularly noteworthy Dutchman pick up a knock, the Gunners side would have a legitimate claim as one of the best in the league.

Wenger made a big splash during the 2011 summer months, bringing in nine players, including five during the final week when a horrible start to the season forced his hand to buy some experience and cover.

Gervinho, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell, Park Chu-Young, Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Yossi Benayoun (loan) and Mikel Arteta cost a combined £56.95 million, according to Transfermarket. (The last five were the ones brought in during that final week.)

But with some of the names that have popped up on the Arsenal wish list ahead of the upcoming transfer session, it appears that should the normally-frugal Wenger decide to spend, he will have to drop some serious cash to attract the type of top-tiered talent fans are expecting.

Yet with Wenger reported to be looking to offload some £23 million worth of wages, mostly emanating from players currently on the fringes of first-team football, that transfer kitty could leap even further upwards.

Add that to the £50 million in available funds that the Arsenal board have reportedly promised to Wenger to spend this summer (mostly coming from the sales of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri last summer), and the French manager looks like he could make some major moves.

But we most remember, this is Wenger. The man who consistently reminds us that he “will not spend for the sake of spending.”

It seems we’re being told two things here, with the club and Wenger apparently far from dovetailing, but the smart money says that Wenger will continue his custom of not breaking the bank during the transfer window. It’s simply not his way of doing things.

That does not mean he won’t spend to improve the side, however. The amount spent last summer was quite high for the Frenchman.

So what should fans realistically expect to happen this summer?

Wenger has already tipped his hand in his pursuit to sign FC Clogne and German international winger Lukasz Podolski.

The Frenchman very rarely makes his intentions known, but it speaks to his desire to get Podolski on board that he has been so transparent during these past few months.

Many sites have taken notice. Transfer Market lists a potential Arsenal deal for Podolski as having a 90 percent chance of completion.

While the German’s market value is listed at £17.5 million, it’s believed that the actual fee will be around £10.9 million when all is said and done.

Podolski seems the surest bet at this juncture.

But who else might Wenger bring in? Will fans be pleased with just one signature?

Likely, no.

Transfer Market lists Yann M’Vila, Jan Vertonghen, Younes Belhanda and Lucas Biglia as the transfers with the highest likelihood of happening after Podolski.

But M’Vila and Vertonghen’s probability rates currently sit at a tepid 32 percent. Belhanda and Biglia are even lower, at 26 and 20 percent clips.

M’Vila has surfaced as a popular choice for many Arsenal fans.

The Stade Rennais defensive midfielder has put together a fine season in Ligue 1, which has given him strong footing as he looks to stake his claim for a starting role in Laurent Blanc’s French national team side ahead of this summer’s European Championships. (He often starts alongside Yohan Cabaye midfield for Les Bleus.)

He has long been tipped as one to watch for the future. M’Vila was one of the last five players cut for the 23-man French side that tripped to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup (and then continued to trip once they’d gotten there).

M’Vila has said that he would welcome a switch to Arsenal.

But is defensive midfielder a position that really needs addressing at the moment for Arsenal, especially when M’Vila is likely to cost around £25 million?

Cover is always nice, especially when it’s someone of M’Vila’s quality, but with Alex Song currently enjoying such a fine season at the position and Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin both excellent choices should he succumb to injury, it appears the Gunners are set.

Other than Podolski, the only player Wenger has come out and stated that he’s hoping to bring in this summer is Lille winger Eden Hazard.

The Belgian’s price tag is expected to be exorbitant—£30 million was the list price cited by the Daily Mail—and it may rise even higher should a bidding war commence between English Premier League sides—Hazard’s destination of choice.

Reports are also heating up about Montpellier hit man Olivier Giroud, who is currently leading Ligue 1 in scoring with 18 goals. (Hazard is second with 14.) Stephen Sessegnon’s name has also been bandied about.

Giroud is an interesting prospect. At 24, he has seen himself vault to the fore of the French sporting world after enjoying one of the finer seasons seen by a striker in Ligue 1 in recent memory.

He even started in France’s last match, a friendly against Germany, scoring in the 2-0 win.

Montpellier president Louis Nicollin, renowned as a large personality, has claimed he will settle for nothing less than £50 million for his star man.

However, much of that is posturing—Nicollin is a savvy businessman and realizes the gem he has on his hands—remains to be seen.

But Nicollin will want to get the most money possible, especially considering he paid just €2 million to prise Giroud from Ligue 2 outfit Tours back in 2010.

Giroud will not come cheap.

But will Wenger—who has been tracking his progress this spring, with reports that he has instructed scout Gilles Grimandi to assemble a dossier on the striker—pony up the cash?

These are but a few of the many names that have been linked to Arsenal. When transfer season is around the corner, the headlines will gain even more momentum.

Podolski appears likely to join; Hazard perhaps less so. Will Wenger splurge on two wingers, particularly considering how deep the Gunners are at the position right now? Likely not.

He does need cover in defense, so Vertonghen may be a more viable option. The Belgian is more comfortable as a central defender but is reported to be comfortable deputizing on the left.

Should Wenger opt to pursue a more conventional left-back, Everton’s Leighton Baines has rode a fine wave of form to become one of the premier English options at the position. He will likely make the 23-man national side for this summer’s Euros.

Perhaps the wild card, a man whose name has been bandied about this season, but up until now has been nowhere near as loud as others, is Fulham support striker Clint Dempsey.

At 29, the American is enjoying the best season of his career with 21 goals in all competitions, many of which have come against top competition—his equalizer against Chelsea on Monday was the latest evidence of his ability to be at his best when the lights are turned brightest.

Dempsey has four goals in his last three EPL matches. Few will forget his Europa League wonder goal two seasons ago, either.

He has been valued at £10 million. A price tag right in Wenger’s range, given some of the players he’s brought in these past seasons.

Dempsey is proven at the international stage, having starred for the U.S. since the 2006 World Cup. He is ready for a move to a top-tiered club, preferably in England.

He’s familiar with London, having played with Fulham since 2007.

Seems like a perfect match. Along with Podolski, he would bring adequate cover at the central forward position.

That looks like logic that would appeal to the savvy Wenger.