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England

Arsenal January Transfer Shopping – Who Will And Won’t Arsene Wenger Buy




With inconsistency enveloping the Emirates Stadium after something of a winter collapse recently, Arsenal are expected to be active in the January transfer window. Arsene Wenger is under pressure like never before to spend what money is available, and after the club signed a lucrative new sponsorship deal with Emirates, the Gunners have the best part of £100M for player recruitment. Fans are unhappy that, while paying the highest prices in the Premier League to generate that substantial transfer fund, it is not being used to bring in players who can make Arsenal title challengers once again.

Club CEO Ivan Gazidis has said that Wenger has the funds available to spend big and so the Frenchman is being penned into a corner. Yet the ever stubborn Arsenal tactician will ensure that any players brought in represent value for money. Priorities include another forward to help fill the void left by Robin van Persie last season. As expected, while Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott have all contributed plenty of goals between them, the transition of so many new players has meant that Arsenal lack a player who can score a goal out of nothing as Van Persie once could, to help them out of a hole. A midfielder could also be on Wenger’s radar, with Abou Diaby’s absence through injury being keenly felt.

We look at some of Arsenal’s potential transfer targets for January and assess the chances of them landing at the Emirates Stadium.


Adrian Lopez – Forward – Atletico Madrid – Contract until June 2015

Arsenal have been following the Atletico Madrid forward for some time and he is high on their wish list for January. Lopez is a fast, skilful forward with a good eye for goal. He scored 19 goals for Atletico Madrid last year and was crucial in their run to the final of the Europa League and ultimate victory. The Spaniard linked up perfectly in a front three with Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan and it is easy to see how he would fit into Arsenal’s system. With Olivier Giroud leading the line, the space he creates by drawing defenders to him would be exploited superbly by Lopez, who is always looking to get into goalscoring positions from out wide. With the composure Gervinho lacks, he would make a useful addition to the Arsenal squad. Lopez is thought to have a buy-out clause of just £14M and that value for money may make him a more likely Wenger signing, although he has not played that much this season for Atletico Madrid. The transfer may depend on whether Theo Walcott signs a new contract, although his tactical flexibility means Wenger may be tempted to sign him anyway.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 7/10


Wilfried Zaha – Forward – Crystal Palace – Contract until June 2017

Zaha is one of the biggest talents in English football at present and Arsenal are among the host of clubs looking at the 20-year-old. He has been instrumental in Crystal Palace’s superb form this season and burst onto the scene with an impressive display against Manchester United as the Championship side stunned the Red Devils in the League Cup last season. Arsenal’s desire to build their squad around a nucleus of technically astute British talents, and their reputation for bringing through players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, could give them the edge in convincing the player he would receive first team chances at the club. But whilst Zaha is clearly talented, he would not represent the ready-made solution Arsenal fans are baying for at present.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 5/10
Bet on Wilfried Zaha to join Arsenal before 1st February 2013. 


Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – Defender – Montpellier – Contract until June 2015

Yanga-Mbiwa was, along with Olivier Giroud, one of the key figures in Montpellier’s remarkable Ligue 1 title triumph last season. Arsene Wenger was monitoring the defender over the summer and he was one of the players targeted as the transfer window entered its final days. His versatility, being able to play across the defence, is something Wenger will admire. The 23-year-old opted to stay in the south of France for another season, but with Arsenal struggling and Yanga-Mbiwa impressing against the Premier League side in the Champions League, Wenger could make another move for the centre-back. Yanga-Mbiwa has recently broken into the France team and with and Montpellier’s hopes of qualifying for Europe looking remote, he could be tempted to follow Giroud to the Emirates Stadium and help shore up a leaky Arsenal defence.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 6/10


Pepe Reina – Goalkeeper – Liverpool – Contract until June 2016

Arsenal made a bid for Reina back in 2010 and may choose to renew their efforts to land the Spaniard. Arsene Wenger is keen to sign a new goalkeeper to add strength in depth to the squad, with Vito Mannone having failed to convince that he can regularly star for the first team. That leaves Wojciech Szczesny, who whilst continuing to impress in goal has shown that his inexperience would be well served with an older rival to compete with for a first team spot. Reina could fit the bill, although he has made some high profile errors of late. Arsenal, however, may be reluctant to match his six figure salary at Liverpool.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 3/10


Kevin Strootman – Midfielder – PSV Eindhoven – Contract until June 2016

Arsenal have been scouting the Dutch midfielder, who has replaced Yann M’Vila as the principal target in this area of the pitch for the Gunners. Hailed as the new Mark van Bommel, the 22-year-old has been instrumental for PSV Eindhoven in their surge to the top of the Dutch league this season and is also ready to leave if the opportunity arises. He would fit into the requirements Arsenal are after, as he is adept at playing at the back of the midfield or in the centre, which is where they have been short this season. Obstacles to his signature include the likely transfer fee ending up close to the £20M figure mark, as well as the interest shown in the player by sides like Manchester United, AC Milan and Liverpool.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 4/10


Paulinho – Midfielder – Corinthians – Contract until July 2015

Paulinho has been hugely impressive for the FIFA Club World Cup champions, the driving force in their midfield. He is instrumental to coach Tite’s tactical plans, as his energy and all-around abilities combine brilliantly with Ralf in Corinthians’ midfield to give their opponents little time on the ball. He is the kind of player who would really add something to Arsenal, as his energy and work-rate would bring defensive solidity to Wenger’s team, while his technical ability means he would also contribute going forward. Chelsea are also interested, as are a host of other European sides, and with the Brazilian league season recently concluding, now would be the ideal time to sign Paulinho.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 5/10


Luke Shaw – Defender – Southampton – Contract until June 2014

Southampton have one of English football’s best youth systems and Shaw is the latest in a line of talented players to emerge from it. The left-back has huge potential and a wise head on young shoulders, as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also did at his age. The 17-year-old has recently been given a chance in the Southampton team and there are good reasons why he is being compared with another youngster who once starred at left-back for the Saints – Gareth Bale. As with most young players at Southampton, Shaw is technically gifted, as well as quick and intelligent. He would fit perfectly into Arsenal’s system and would provide arguably better competition at left-back for Kieran Gibbs than Andre Santos currently does. Southampton remain determined to keep hold of their prized asset though, and it is hard to see how they could be convinced mid-season and with a relegation battle in front of them to part with the player.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 4/10


Fernando Llorente – Forward – Athletic Bilbao – Contract until June 2013

Llorente is set to leave Athletic Bilbao sooner rather than later. The Basque club have little incentive to keep him until the end of his contract, with their European adventure over already and their La Liga performances lagging behind those they put together last season. Llorente made clear that he did not want to stay at the club last summer, rejecting a new contract, and has been punished by being frozen out this year. Strong, technically superb and with good finishing ability, he would be a useful signing for most teams, but is quite similar to Olivier Giroud and this is a concern Arsenal scouts have had about his signature. With Juventus intent on signing a striker, and their interest in Llorente well-known, it would be a surprise if Arsenal could beat the Bianconeri to his signature.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 2/10
Bet on Fernando Llorente to join Arsenal before 1st February 2013. 


Luiz Gustavo – Midfielder – Bayern Munich – Contract until June 2015


Gustavo could be Arsenal’s other option if they decide to try and bolster their midfield. The Brazilian was a key part of the Hoffenheim side which won promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008. Having signed for Bayern Munich in 2011, he has played regularly for them since, although the arrival of Javi Martinez has restricted his time in the first team. The Brazilian’s versatility will endear him to Arsene Wenger, whose scouts have added him to the club’s wish list. He could also be a cut-price signing, and still only 25, Gustavo would add the strength in depth Wenger is after in central midfielder. However, the big question mark over this transfer would be whether Gustavo would be willing to swap being an understudy at Bayern Munich to potentially filling the same squad role in North London. And with the two clubs being drawn together in the Champions League Round of 16, the Germans may be even more reluctant to sell the midfielder to the Gunners.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 3/10


Thierry Henry – Forward – New York Red Bulls – Contract until December 2014

Henry is almost certain to return to Arsenal for a third spell this winter. He has been training again with his former club after the conclusion of the MLS season and the club are seriously looking into bringing him back on loan. The Frenchman was not the player he was at his best last year, but then no one expected him to be. He still provided a useful contribution, scoring an important FA Cup winner against Leeds United and hitting a last minute strike against Sunderland in the Premier League which prompted a superb run of form that helped Arsenal qualify for the Champions League again. His experience will be useful in the dressing room, while his form in the MLS this year was better than last, so he should be able to offer Arsenal something going forward still.

Chances of moving to Arsenal in January: 9.5/10

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Published: Thursday, 27th Dec 2012