Check your advent calendars, boys and girls – we’re now officially two days into the countdown to Christmas, which means Coca-Cola adverts, cheesy movies, carol singers and mince pies will be invading all of your senses for the next few weeks as we prepare for a visit from merry ol’ Saint Nick.
But it also means young lads and ladies from up and down the country will be writing their wish lists for Santa Claus – and it’s a little-known fact that Premier League managers also partake in the annual tradition.
Indeed, few need the magic of Christmas more than the unfortunate gaffers who ply their trade in the ever-unpredictable and chaotic world of the English top flight, especially with the January transfer window just around the corner.
And with that in mind, here’s a list of TEN coveted stars who should be topping the wish list of Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger. Will Santa deliver?
With Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscienly both the wrong side of 30, Arsenal need a youthful centre-back breaking through.
The Gunners have already been linked with Everton’s John Stones and the home-grown prodigy’s ability to play out of the back would suit their technically-demanding philosophy perfectly.
£45million, however, might be just outside of Santa’s price-range.
One of the most versatile and industrious goal scorers in Europe, pretty much everybody’s got one eye on Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann at the moment.
The France international arrived at Vincente Calderon as a promising wide-man but has scored 35 goals in 71 appearances since switching to centre-forward.
Equally adept at both roles and famed for his phenomenal work-rate, the 24-year-old would vastly enhance Arsene Wenger’s options in attack. His release clause is set at €80million.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang boasts the most league goals of any player in Europe’s five leading top flights with 17 in 14 appearances – bringing his Borussia Dortmund total to 66 in 117 since his summer 2013 arrival from St. Etienne.
Blessed with electrifying pace and all-round athleticism, the 6 foot 1 Gabon international could accumulate cricket scores with the potent supply from Arsenal’s midfield.
Its believed the Black-Yellows value the 26-year-old at around £42million – but he’s often talked up a move to Spain over the Premier League.
A bit of a stocking filler but a very handy one nonetheless. As a fantastic athlete of great versatility, Joel Matip has much to offer a top European club like Arsenal.
Indeed, the 24-year-old has featured at full-back, defensive midfield and centre-back throughout his Schalke career and the current Arsenal squad lacks a utility man of Matip’s description.
Furthermore, the Cameroon international’s Veltins Arena contract expires at the end of the season, so he will be available on the cheap in January.
A La Liga star whose stock is seemingly rising by the match, Celta Vigo’s Nolito has claimed eight goals and four assists in 13 league outings this season whilst averaging 2.8 created chances per-match.
The Spain international is already on Arsenal’s radar ahead of the January window and would certainly suit their style of play.
But even Father Christmas might not be able to convince the 29-year-old into a winter move with Celta currently sixth in the La Liga table.
Injures to Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey have highlighted Arsenal’s lack of depth out wide and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez would be a more than adequate midseason remedy.
A return of seven goals and six assists in 13 Premier League appearances, whilst averaging the most dribbles per match, 3.7, of any player in the division, suggests the Algerian international could ply his trade at a much higher level.
Like Nolito, however, he’ll be reluctant to quit the Foxes whilst they’re second in the table.
Currently averaging 4.5 tackles per match in the Bundesliga, Lars Bender would certainly fill Francis Coquelin’s void in the Gunners’ engine room.
The Bayer Leverkusen star is famed for his dynamism and industriousness and has often been tipped to move to the Premier League.
The German international would add some much-needed steel to Arsenal’s midfield and could prove an integral influence when facing Premier League and Champions League heavyweights.
A natural poacher of the highest order, Gonzalo Higuain possesses the predatory instincts Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are often accused of lacking, evident enough through his career return of 231 goals in 476 appearances throughout spells with River Plate, Real Madrid, Napoli and the Argentina national team.
His Serie A haul of twelve in 15 this season will have undoubtedly caught Arsene Wenger’s attention, having attempted to sign the 27-year-old back in summer 2013.
Higuain’s prior on-pitch relationship with fellow former Blanco Mesut Ozil is another added bonus and the South American could well be the final piece of the jigsaw for Arsenal.
The physical and defensive prowess of 6 foot 3 Javi Martinez has often seen him fill in at centre-back for club and country, but the Bayern Munich midfielder is blessed with all the technical quality you’d expect of a Spain international plying his trade under Pep Guardiola.
In short, he’d be an ideal addition to Arsenal’s midfield – adding much-needed physical menace whilst keeping up with their quick-paced passing game.
Now verging on the final 18 months of his Allianz Arena contract and fighting against a congested squad for a recurring role in the starting Xi, a few select words from St. Nick could convince the 27-year-old to jump ship to the Emirates in January.
It’s a present that Arsenal would have to wait until the summer to open, but an incredibly exciting one nonetheless.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s PSG contract expires at the end of the season and the enigmatic Swede has unfinished business with Arsenal, allegedly rejecting the chance to trial with the Gunners back in 2001.
Having since emerged as one of the top players of his generation, winning titles with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and the Parisians whilst conjuring up 412 goals in 744 career appearances, Zlatan still has plenty to offer Arsenal up front – even at 34 years of age.