After the exploits of their national team at the 2014 World Cup, there’s no doubting the current popularity, trendiness and quality of German football.
Indeed, it seems the Mannschaft boys have struck the perfect balance between technique, monolithic physicality and tactical awareness, which is seeing more and more German internationals involved in big money moves to the Premier League.
Arsenal already have three, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Inter Milan loanee Lukas Podolski, but we at Football Fancast reckon the Gunners aren’t about to stop there.
There’s been a plethora of speculation linking the north London club with Bundesliga stars since the summer, so with that in mind, grab a Currywurst and mull over the FIVE we think could turn up at the Emirates before the end of the January transfer window.
According to the tabloids, Arsenal are locked in a feisty transfer war with Manchester United for the signature of coveted Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels.
The aerial dominance of the German international’s 6 foot 4 frame should serve him well in the Premier League, but it’s his Franz-Beckenbauer-esque ability to join or instigate attacks, boasting world-class distribution by centre-back standards, that’s earned him a reputation as one of the top defenders in world football.
A World Cup winner and former Champions League finalist, the 26 year-old’s quality and experience at the highest level of the game remain undoubted.
With Barcelona now serving their lengthy transfer ban and Real Madrid already well-endowed at the heart of defence, if Hummels is to move anywhere this month – potentially due to Dortmund’s shock slump to the Bundesliga’s relegation zone – it will be to one of his English suitors.
Of course, price-tag remains the predominant issue. Some sources claim Manchester United have already launched a £35million bid that Arsenal would have to match, whilst prior reports valued the dominant defender at a whopping £47million.
The last thing Arsenal need is yet another attacking midfielder, but that’s never stopped Arsene Wenger before and his long-term interest in Schalke prodigy Julian Draxler, documented heavily in January 2014, is well-known.
The German international is considered to be amongst the finest prospects in world football, blending technique, creativity and firepower with an unusually lanky 6 foot 2 frame. Some have compared him to Thierry Henry – I see more similarites, especially in terms of physique and his improvisational style, with Zinedine Zidane.
The 21 year-old has never matched the output of his breakthrough 2012/13 campaign, netting ten times in the Bundesliga, but his performances in the Champions League over the past few seasons have remained impressive, totaling five goals and two assists in his last 16 outings.
With Schalke struggling to hit the heights of prior seasons this term, Arsene Wenger may fancy his chances of prizing Draxler away from the Veltins Arena this month. That would likely require activating the playmaking winger’s £37million release clause however.
Linked with Arsenal persistently over the last few years, the Gunners’ desperate need for a holding midfielder could see them make good on their long-term interest in Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender this month.
Arsene Wenger told beIN Sport he wants a ‘physical presence with prodigious ability like Vieira or Petit‘ earlier this season and the German international, famed for his incredible energy, tough-tackling and determination, fits the bill perfectly.
The 25 year-old is the driving force behind a Leverkusen side that’s consistently challenged at the top of the Bundesliga table since his arrival from 1860 Munchen in summer 2009, now serving as the club’s vice-captain behind Simon Rolfes.
He’s utilised in more of a box-to-box capacity by the Bundesliga side, boasting impeccable stamina, but would likely be signed by Arsenal to fill the void in front of their defence. Bender’s relative pace and defensive awareness should plug those continuous gaps on the counter-attack.
In November, The Metro alleged a £19million bid for Bender, brother of Dortmund’s Sven, was already in the pipeline. It’s not materialised yet, but there’s still a good two weeks of the transfer window remaining.
Another defensive midfielder on the Arsenal radar, according to the Daily Mail, is youngster Christoph Kramer – who you might remember for his brief involvement in the 2014 World Cup final before coming off after just half an hour with a concussion.
The 23 year-old has excelled amid his two-term loan with Borussia Monchengladbach, this season averaging an impressive 2.8 tackles, 3 interceptions and 1.6 successful dribbles per match, in addition to recording an 87% pass completion rate.
Measuring in at just under 6 foot 3, an impeccable athlete and considered to be a long-term successor to Sami Khedira in Germany’s midfield, Kramer comes with all the makings of a future world-beater.
The Mail allege a £20million bid from the Emirates outfit, but signing the young midfielder this January would be a rather complicated process. There’s still six months left on his loan deal with Gladbach, so in addition to paying Leverkusen, it’s likely the Bundesliga side will demand some form of compensation from the Gunners.
A recent contract extension until 2019, signed only last month, could also have a significant impact on Kramer’s price-tag.
Perhaps the best Bundesliga-based signing Arsenal could make this month, the potential acquisition of imposing midfielder-cum-centre-back Javi Martinez would enormously strengthen Gunners’ starting Xi.
Bayern Munich forked out a whopping £25million for the 6 foot 5 Spain international in summer 2012 and he made good on the sizable investment in his debut season, performing a vital role in the club’s march to a Bundesliga and Champions League double.
Pep Guardiola doesn’t seem to be as fond of Martinez as predecessor Jupp Heynckes however, despite his formidable mix of power, height and technical ability, issuing the 25 year-old nine less starts during 2013/14 than his inaugural campaign.
Arsenal were linked with a £30million bid in the summer, but the former Athletic Bilbao star instead pledged his allegiance to the German powerhouse.
Now having summer signings Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia to contend with for a spot in the Bayern starting Xi however, Martinez may be thinking differently about his immediate future – especially after spending the entirety of the current campaign on the sidelines due to injury.
He’d likely still command a fee of that magnitude however.