Arsenal: 5 Players Arsene Wenger Must Target in January
Arsenal need to be major players when the transfer window opens again in January.
With January's window approaching, teams have been linked with every player who's rumored to be leaving his team. Such is the way news happens during the time leading up to and through the two transfer windows.
Arsenal is a team that is always a major player during transfer periods. As one of the top teams in England, they have to be diligent during this time if they want to stay on par with the competition.
This January will be no different. In fact, it might even be more important, as the competition is as stiff as ever leading up to the winter breaks, and Arsenal are currently on the outside looking in.
High-profile transfers will fail almost as often as they are successful, but that shouldn't shy Arsene Wenger from exploring every avenue to make his team better.
With that in mind, remember that not every transfer is guaranteed to happen or that not everyone is in agreement of targets. These are just players of great quality that I believe Arsenal must at least make an attempt at negotiations with.
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Isco is not only a player that Wenger must target in January, but he's also one that he must act quickly for.
Isco has shined brightly for Malaga this season, and while the Spanish club is currently fifth in La Liga, looks ready to move on to a bigger stage. Malaga, however, will try their hardest to stall this from happening.
The young midfielder has been offered an extension by his club. The extension would drive up Isco's price for would-be suitors. At some point, Malaga knows that Isco will move on to a top club, but this extension will scare away some potential bidders for the time being.
Though Arsenal should not be deterred if that were the case, they could be proactive and try to seal the move before it happens. If they were to pay a bit more than current market value for the playmaker, they might be able to persuade Malaga before the extension hikes up his price.
Either way, Arsenal should try to make this happen, especially given his other success of bringing in young players from La Liga. Could Isco be as good as Fabregas was at Arsenal? Who knows, but the possibility is enough to warrant interest.
Casemiro might be exactly what Arsenal is looking for in a midfield player since they sold Alex Song to Barcelona.
Song's move to the Catalan giants was probably fueled by reasons other than his play, since his presence in the Arsenal midfield was so crucial that his departure has seemingly left a big hole. While the team is not short on playmakers or wing midfielders, they are now missing that hard-nosed holding presence in the middle of the pitch.
Casemiro's standout play for Sao Paolo has been praised for strong defense, tough-tackling and even the ability to attack. Sounds like the young holding midfielder would give the Gunners exactly the type of replacement for Song they have been searching for.
It seems that Arsenal realize it too, as they have asked Sao Paolo about his availability. His relatively fair price should make the move both plausible and likely from Arsenal.
However, his form this season has piqued the interest of other suitors, such as Juventus, Milan and Tottenham, as well.
3. Edinson Cavani
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Alright, so this may be a pipe dream, but Arsenal has been linked with a move for Edinson Cavani in the past.
It was a no-brainer a couple of months ago when Arsenal were forced into selling star captain Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United. Now, they're tasked with replacing the heart and soul of the team.
Now, a few months later, Cavani doesn't seem like an absolute necessity for the Gunners. Lukas Podolski has been in great form lately and has formed a quality front trident with Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
While the strong play of Podolski may suggest that Arsenal don't need to sign Cavani, they would still be best served to approach Napoli about grabbing his signature.
I'll admit that this signing has bust written all over it. There's a gut feeling about it. However, on the opposite of that, there's a gut feeling that Cavani is just too strong of a player for that to happen.
El Matador has the ability to be a top-class striker, if he already isn't, in world football. He's built for the Premier League—big, strong, tough, fast with a clinical finish. Again, seems like a no-brainer.
I would understand the hesitation at spending the money, but I believe Cavani would thrive at Arsenal.
4. Aleksandar Dragovic
I think Aleksandar Dragovic would be a great signing for Arsenal in January, and they seem to think so as well.
Arsene Wenger noted in August that signing a defender was a priority for Arsenal. As the deadline came and went, though, the Gunners did not bring in anyone for defense. I doubt they'll flash cash for a superstar, but they'll probably be looking to bring in one or more defensive players during this window.
Some may argue that the need for a right-back may be greater, but unless Bacary Sagna leaves, Arsenal don't need to make that signing over other needs. Bringing in Dragovic, a center-back, makes more sense to me. The Austrian defender has been great for FC Basel and has continually impressed for the Swiss side.
Given his age, it should be expected that Dragovic will experience some growing pains as he learns to adjust to the Premier League. Coming to Arsenal now, he could learn a lot from the veteran defenders and senior squad members, and it would also allow for some rotation and rest amongst the current defenders.
Another center-back may not be at the top of the list, but neither is striker and targeting Cavani still makes sense. The case is similar here, especially given that this signing also has the potential to see a greater reward later as well.
5. Dries Mertens
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Despite what Arsene Wenger says, it seems more likely each day that Theo Walcott may leave Arsenal in January.
The star winger was upset to start the season over his role on the team and his wages. While he's been given a larger role, Walcott still refuses to commit his future at the Emirates with an extension.
There comes a time when you can no longer wait anymore, and, even though they'd like him to stay, Arsenal might be better off cashing in on Walcott. Fear not, though, because there is an acceptable replacement is out there for Wenger to sign.
Dries Mertens has been in incredible form for PSV in the Eredivisie, and it might be time to put him to the test. It may be easy to write off his torrid scoring pace in the Eredivisie, compared to the competition he'll see in the BPL, but that doesn't mean we have to write off his value.
Mertens would slot right into Walcott's place on the wing, and he'll bring most of the same things that Walcott brought; probably at a much lower cost as well.
Should Wenger come calling for his signature, Mertens could join the growing list of top Belgians plying their trade for top English clubs, including Arsenal's own Thomas Vermaelen.