Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Top 10 Gossip Stories of the Week
After a terrible start, Arsenal have given themselves a realistic chance of finishing in the top four places at the end of the season, which will mean they can play Champions League football.
It has been solid progress from the Gunners in the last few months, but they know that the second half of the season is the key to their ambitions. They will probably be helped by the returns of Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere in particular, but could still look to sign players who could help them improve the quality of the team.
Thierry Henry, who has arrived on a loan move from New York Red Bulls, has made an instant impact by scoring a goal in the Leeds United game and could have a prominent role to play—especially during the African Nations Cup.
The signing of Henry has given them a huge lift and a boost to their confidence, but they would be better placed to finish in the top four if Wenger can make further additions to the squad.
This article is on some of the latest transfer stories involving Arsenal that have emerged this week—Arsenal fans hope they can bring in a high-quality player who could make the difference in the January transfer window.
Aly Cissokho (Lyon)
Arsenal have had terrible luck with injuries to their fullbacks this season, which is why Wenger could be considering a move for a fullback in the January transfer window.
Kieran Gibbs has been injured for a number of weeks while Andre Santos and Bacary Sagna have sustained long term injuries—though Sagna could be back before the end of January. Carl Jenkinson has also missed a lot of games due to a stress fracture, and Arsenal will want him to recover completely before he is back for the Gunners.
One of the possible alternatives in the problematic left back position is Lyon's Aly Cissokho, who could add some strength to the Arsenal back line. He is a strong versatile defender who was very impressive when he was at FC Porto. He was then signed by Lyon and could move on in the winter transfer window. According to Skysports News, Arsenal and Newcastle have been strongly linked with Frenchman and Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas, who has said he is not against selling the defender.
However, the problem Arsenal could face is that Wenger would most likely prefer a loan deal because he does believe in the abilities of Gibbs and Santos, while Lyon would probably look to sell him and use the cash to secure some other signings as well.
Wayne Bridge (Manchester City)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could look for a temporary solution for his problems in the left-back position in the January transfer window, which is why he could be interested in Manchester City's Wayne Bridge.
There will not be any quality left backs available on loan, which is why Wenger does not have much choice in the transfer window. Bridge could be a decent option for the Gunners to make up the numbers, but his wages are too high for a squad player and City will need to pay a part of them if it is to be a possibility.
However, the other question is whether or not Wenger will be interested in signing a full-back or will carry on using the squad players and youngsters until Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna return. Thomas Vermaelen is also expected to be back soon, and with Koscielny and Mertesacker doing well at the heart of the defense, Vermaelen can slot in at left back without many problems as well.
Marouane Chamakh was signed in the summer of 2010 when he was a free agent, and he had an excellent start to his Arsenal career—particularly when Robin van Persie was injured for the first half of the season.
However, since returning from injury, Van Persie's form has been absolutely sensational and it has meant that Chamakh has lost his place and has suffered from a huge lack of confidence and belief. He has not performed well for over a year now at the Emirates and could be on his way out.
Italian club Fiorentina is said to be interested in the Morocco international, who has also left for the African Nations Cup. It would not cost much for the Italian side to sign Chamakh, but it is uncertain if the Gunners will sell—especially if they cannot sign any other striker as backup for the Dutchman.
Thierry Henry is on a short term loan deal and Wenger either needs to sign another striker or retain Chamakh till the end of the season.
Andrey Arshavin is one of the most gifted players at Arsenal, but has not been a regular this season due to poor form and getting benched in favor of Gervinho.
Though Arshavin plays in a central playmaking role for Russia, he has almost always played on the left wing for the Gunners. Though he was very successful in his first year for the Gunners, he has been rather inconsistent in the last year and his work rate is also not great.
He has lost the ability to accelerate past defenders because of a loss in pace and has not been at his best. With very few goals this season, it is fair to say that he is not having the confidence though he still retains the ability to produce moments of brilliance and defense splitting passes as well.
With Gervinho absent for more than a month due to African Nations Cup, Arshavin is likely to get the chance to impress.
Though he has been linked with a move back to Russia with Zenit St. Petersburg, Arsene Wenger is likely to retain the dynamic Russian international at least until the summer.
If he does recapture his best form, he could possibly be awarded a new contract as well.
Salomon Kalou (Chelsea)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not a manager who reveals much transfer information in his press conferences, but one can never rule out some shock moves. The Gunners have been linked with Chelsea's out-of-favor striker Salomon Kalou, who is currently representing the Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup.
Kalou is out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea could cash in on the forward in this transfer window.
Kalou does not feature prominently in Andre Villas-Boas' plans, and there are many good strikers at Chelsea—especially if Romelu Lukaku can fulfill his immense potential. Wenger could look to add a player like Kalou who will provide more depth to the team and could be an option from the bench and step in during times of injuries.
Though it is not sure if Wenger will make a move for Kalou, the possibility of such a move happening cannot be ruled out—though it is most likely a signing which will not please the majority of the fans.
Scott Dann (Blackburn)
Dann excelled alongside Roger Johnson for Birmingham, and when they got relegated he stayed in the Premiership by joining Blackburn. However, he has not had a good start to the season with Blackburn—one of the clubs who are looking more likely to get relegated at this point.
If Blackburn can hold on to Chris Samba in this transfer window, they could possibly sell Dann. It is surprising that Arsenal are interested in a centre-back, especially when they have as many as five, including Sebastien Squillaci who has not played much at all this season.
Also, with Laurent Koscielny establishing himself as one of the best central defenders in the league, it looks like Dann might not be needed at Arsenal, who signed the experienced Per Mertesacker in the summer.
Eric Abidal (FC Barcelona)
It would not involve a big transfer fee and could be an excellent move for the Gunners considering the quality of Abidal. The Frenchman is a very safe left-back who can also play as a centre-back. This is why it could be a useful signing for the Gunners, who have lost many full-backs due to injuries.
However, Barcelona are unlikely to allow him to leave in January considering that he is still an important player for the team, and they are more likely to offer him a better contract in the near future.
Abidal is still a quality player and it would be a very intelligent signing if Arsenal can persuade Barcelona to sell him in January.
Saad Al-Mukhaini (Fanja SC)
Saad Al-Mukhaini is a 24-year-old left-back who is currently playing for Fanja SC and has also represented Oman. He has impressed Oman coach Paul Le Guen, and the coach has recommended him to Arsene Wenger, who needs to add a left-back in this transfer window if the injury crisis does not improve.
Wenger has offered a trial to the defender, who will look to impress the Frenchman to get a chance to play at one of Europe's top clubs.
It will be a surprise if Arsenal do sign him on a permanent deal considering they already have Gibbs and Santos. A temporary deal might also not be logical considering that he needs the time to settle into the team.
However, Arsene Wenger has unearthed several unknown talents in the past, and Al-Mukhaini could be yet another astute signing by the Frenchman.
Matias Suarez (Anderlecht)
According to the Mirror, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does indeed like the talents of Anderlecht striker Matias Suarez, but insisted that no deal had been agreed upon regarding the striker.
Suarez has been prolific this season. He is not only a goal scorer—he can also link up plays well and provide assists to his team mates. Though the Belgian league is weaker, he has performed very well there and it does look like he has the talent to play at a bigger club in the future.
It will be difficult to persuade Anderlecht to sell him in January, and since he is not a regular for Argentina there could be work permit problems in signing the striker.
However, if Arsenal can obtain a permit and strike a deal at a reasonable price, it could turn out to be an excellent signing.
At the moment, however, it seems like it probably won't happen in January.
Lukas Podolski (FC Cologne)
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal target Lukas Podolski is very likely to stay at Cologne in January, but the Gunners could line up a move for the striker in the summer with the Germany international having only one more year left on his contract.
Podolski has been prolific for Cologne this season, and one of the main reasons why he wants to stay there is to ensure he does not miss out on a place for the Euro Championships in Joachim Loew's squad.
Thierry Henry's return to the club has also provided them with more options upfront, and the Gunners could move for the German striker in the summer.
Podolski could be a very useful signing for Arsenal because of his price, experience and versatility, but they might have to wait till the summer to sign him.