Arsene Wenger has never been too fond of the January transfer window. In fact, his average spend since it’s incarnation eleven years ago is just £3.2million per window. Peanuts for a club meant to be challenging for the Premier League title.
But with Arsenal surprisingly off the pace this year, to the extent that even their seemingly eternal Champions League status could even be in doubt, it’s believed Wenger will break the status quo by splashing the cash in the New Year.
And we at Football Fancast think he should be doing it in the most exuberant fashion possible to get Arsenal’s campaign back on track, so with that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE well-known, highly-priced targets the North Londoners should break the bank for in January.
Arsene Wenger insisted in November that Arsenal aren’t in the race to sign Chelsea’s Petr Cech but for the life of me, I can’t understand why. The Czech international is one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history and clearly needs to find a new club, having fallen behind Thibaut Courtois, an immensely talentedgoalie a decade his junior, in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge this season.
Wojciech Szczesny is a solid ‘keeper who continues to develop at a sturdily impressive rate, but even upon reaching the peak of his powers, it’s unlikely the Pole will ever match Cech’s world-class abilities. Goalkeepers can turn defeats into draws and draws into wins; improving between the sticks would drastically enhance the Gunners’ title chances in future campaigns.
Arsenal’s need for a top class holding midfielder is painfully obvious and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is one of the Premier League’s best. Once again this season, he’s in the division’s top ten for tackles per match this season:
In comparison, Arsenal’s top-tackling midfielder, Mathieu Flamini, is some way behind with just 2.6 challenges per match this term.
The France international’s alleged £30million price-tag may seem rather audacious but in my opinion, he’s the perfect pick for Arsenal. In addition to proving his credentials as a formidable enforcer since the Saints’ top flight ascension in summer 2012, he’s ever-dependable on the ball, with a pass completion rate of 90% this term, prefers sitting deep to let others create and perhaps most importantly, measures in at 6 foot 2 – offering some much-needed aerial ability to Arsenal’s exceptionally small starting XI.
Failing that, a revival of interest William Carvalho is in order, following rumours of Arsenal failing in a summer deadline day bid for the Sporting Lisbon prodigy. The 22 year-old midfielder is an absolute beast, measuring in at 6 foot 2 and weighing in excess of 14 stone, and is the ideal man to add some much-needed brutish brawn to the Gunners’ engine room. Sporting have just revised all of their third-party ownership deals to ensure they receive full revenues from any player departures, making January the ideal title to convince the Portuguese outfit to sell. Some claim he’s still valued at around £30million, but the Portugal international’s age and obvious potential makes him a worthwhile long-term investment.
Arsenal entered the season one defender short and with Per Mertesacker still struggling to overcome his World Cup hangover, the timing feels right to source an upgrade on the Big Effing German. The Gunners’ desired pick remains Mats Hummels, who is considered to be one of the leading defenders in world football for his blend of aerial dominance, anticipatory defending and a Franz-Beckenbaur-esque ability to instigate or join attacks from deep positions.
Borussia Dortmund will only sell the World Cup winning-centre-back for a huge fee, allegedly £47million, but with the Westfalen outfit currently one place clear of the bottom of the Bundesliga by goal difference alone, now is undoubtedly the time to convince Hummels to move on.
An alternative to Mats Hummels, also linked with an Emirates move in January, comes in the form of Athletic Bilbao’s Aymeric Laporte. He’s averaged the fourth-most interceptions of any La Liga player this term, as detailed below:
And over the last few years has emerged as one of the division’s most exciting centre-back prospects. He’s quick, progressive on the ball and has adapted well to Champions League football this season, as detailed below:
Perhaps most importantly for the Gunners, the 20 year-old is equally adept at left-back, which would plug another hole in Arsenal’s squad depth. The Frenchman comes with a £32million release clause, but hugely talented and with many years ahead of him could prove an astute investment.