It’s also believed his budget will be around the £20million mark, in the bid to find a signing that can propel the Gunners back towards the Premier League’s summit after dropping down to eighth last weekend, so just one question remains – who will Wenger actually sign?
With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE known targets of the Emirates outfit who could realistically be Wenger’s ‘one signing’ in January…
Now 32 years of age and struggling to rekindle the impeccable consistency of the last few seasons, it’s time for Arsenal to start thinking about long-term replacements to their Pirlo-esque playmaker, Mikel Arteta.
And with Jack Wilshere sidelined for the next four months with an ankle problem, Arsene Wenger may feel compelled to accelerate that issue by addressing it in January. One likeminded midfielder already linked with a winter move to the Emirates is PSG’s Yohan Cabaye:
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 29, 2014
Premier League fans will know the 28 year-old well; he claimed 18 goals and 15 assists in 79 league appearances for Newcastle, almost firing them to Champions League qualification back in 2012, and was particularly famed for his quality at deadball situations. Here are some of the highlights from his three years on Tyneside:
The France international often featured in a more advanced role for the Magpies, but has proved his ability in deeper-lying positions since joining the French champions, as detailed below:
Despite only moving to Parc de Princes last January, Cabaye has grown disillusioned with his limited playing time under Laurent Blanc, with the PSG boss seemingly preferring the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta, Marco Veratti and youngster Adrien Rabiot in central midfield – especially in the Champions League, where the former Toon talisman has amassed just 43 minutes this season.
That makes a January move all the more likely and some reports claim Cabaye’s desired transfer location is north London.
But the £19million-rated midfielder is on the radars of Liverpool and Manchester United too.
Alternatively, Portugal international Joao Moutinho – another Ligue 1 playmaker – has just handed in a transfer request at Monaco, according to the tabloids:
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 25, 2014
He’s been in decent form since joining the French big-spenders from Porto back in summer 2012, as detailed below:
But the 5 foot 7 midfielder has reportedly grown increasingly disillusioned at Monaco following James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao joining Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively during the summer.
No doubt, Moutinho is a top talent, capable of controlling games and dictating tempo from deep positions. Here’s a clip of the 28 year-old in action:
He’s rated at £25million by Mirror Football, which fits in to Wenger’s January budget rather nicely.
Although both seem relatively likely transfers however, neither Cabaye nor Moutinho resolve Arsenal’s lack of power and energy in the middle of the park.
The Gunners have been strongly linked with £47million-rated Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels over the last few weeks, but Arsene Wenger, £47million and the January window aren’t phrases that tend to mix.
A more realistic option comes in the form of Ipswich Town’s Tyrone Mings, also strongly linked with a winter move to the Emirates:
Ipswich Town defender Tyrone Mings is an £8m target for Arsenal in the winter transfer window. (Source: Mail on Sunday)
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) November 30, 2014
The 21 year-old left-back – once purchased from Chippenham Town for just £10k by Mick McCarthy – has been enjoying some fantastic form of late, winning the Championship’s Player of the Year award for September after grabbing crucial assists against Wigan and Nottingham Forest. Here’s a look at his stats this term:
Famed for his positive influence going forward but also boasting the beastly 6 foot 3 frame of a centre-half, Mings is an incredible prospect for the future – one that could be moulded into virtually anything by the Arsenal coaching staff.
He’d also address a number of gaps in Arsenal’s defensive depth, especially with Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs both coming off injured against West Brom on Sunday, but Chelsea are also known suitors of Mings.
Arsenal need a centre-back that fits into the natural hierarchy of their squad – someone who can push Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for a first team role but won’t be too disenchanted if they’re sitting on the bench most weeks.
In that regard, FC Basel prodigy Fabian Schar fits the bill perfectly. He’s well proven, having finished last season as statistically the best defender in the Champions League:
But at 22 years of age, will accept that he’s still got a lot to learn to become a regular starter for one of Europe’s top clubs. Here’s another look at the Swiss international in action:
Famed for his front-footed style, somewhat reminiscent of Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen, Schar would offer Arsenal’s defence something a little different too.
Furthermore, the 6 foot 1 centre-half looks certain to leave the Super League champions in the New Year, as he continually refuses to extend his current contract past the summer.
Arsenal have often been linked with Schar and January will be their best chance to sign the £10million-rated defender. Some reports even claim a deal is virtually agreed already:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 25, 2014
But a wealth of clubs throughout Europe, ranging from Barcelona to Borussia Dortmund, have been mooted as potential suitors of Schar’s over the last 18 months.
Arsenal reportedly failed in a summer deadline day bid for Sporting Lisbon prodigy William Carvalho, and with their midfield still in desperate need of some brutish physicality, logic suggests they’ll return for the 6 foot 2 enforcer in the New Year.
— IndyFootball (@IndyFootball) September 3, 2014
Indeed, Wenger told beIN sport in September that he wants ‘a physical presence with prodigious ability like Vieira or Petit’ at the heart of his midfield and Carvalho fits the bill perfectly. Here’s a clip of the 21 year-old in action:
There’s also been some rather interesting developments since the summer.
First of all, the 22 year-old’s improved contract, alleged in September, is yet to materialise, following prior reports that he had actively rejected a new deal.
Secondly, the Portugal international claimed in October that a move to the Premier League or La Liga will happen ‘sooner or later’.
And thirdly, Sporting are on the verge of striking a deal to take the full rights of all their third-party owned players, including Carvalho, meaning the debt-ridden club will receive the maximum profits from selling the midfielder in January and Arsenal won’t have to deal with any complicated legal issues.
So, in a nutshell, there’s quite a lot to suggest a deal will be reached in the coming transfer window, and Carvalho’s rumoured £20million valuation fits rather nicely into Wenger’s January budget.
But the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid are known suitors of the Portuguese prospect too.