Breaking Down Biggest Transfer Needs and Potential Targets of Arsenal
Longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has watched as the Gunners have combined flashes of strong form with extended periods of lackluster play. The lack of consistent results paired with an influx of money has hopes on the rise for January's transfer window.
Arsenal recently inked a new sponsorship deal with Emirates. The BBC reports it's worth £150 million, with the club receiving £30 million per season for featuring the Emirates logo on its kit as well as stadium-naming rights.
In terms of other revenue, Jimmy Nsubuga of the Metro reports Arsenal is looking to move Andrey Arshavin. Zenit, the midfielder's former club, has been linked to a reduced-cost move. His contract comes to an end after the season.
Arshavin simply hasn't lived up to expectations since joining the Gunners and has failed to make an impact during the current campaign. Cutting their losses and opening up a little extra space for other deals would be the smart move.
A combination of those two things should give Wenger some wiggle room heading into January. The club's diehard fans will surely be expecting him to do something with it.
He's refused to divulge his plans, though. Kevin Palmer of ESPN passed along the veteran boss' thoughts, which provide a broad view of what he's hoping to accomplish.
I don't know how active we will be in January. We have a good squad and these players have a fantastic attitude, they deserve success and we will have success. We will be in the market and if we can find a real top, top player, we will do it. There is no fixed number (of players to sign). We just look at quality.
After the first month of the season, it looked like the Gunners were going to be in desperate need of a striker. The offense was showing no rhythm as summer acquisitions Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud struggled to fit their footing.
Of course, losing a superstar like Robin van Persie can do that. It takes time for the squad to understand no single player can fill the void a player of his caliber leaves.
As of late, the Gunners have shown a lot more promise up front. Podolski was on an absolute tear before getting slowed down by Aston Villa over the weekend. Giroud has also been on the rise with three goals over his last five matches.
That said, that probably isn't enough for Wenger to completely abandon transfer plans for the position. Since Gervinho is slated to play in the Africa Cup of Nations, depth at the position will be an issue, especially if Podolski and Giroud cool off.
One name that's popped up, as it has during this time of year for the last few seasons, is Thierry Henry. The New York Red Bulls star and former Gunner joined the team on loan last winter and Tom Doyle of Goal.com reports it could happen again.
Henry would definitely bring some extra scoring punch to the equation. More importantly, adding a veteran like him would do wonders to help the club bring an end to its wild swings in form. He's been through enough Premier League battles to know what it takes to win consistently.
Looking toward the future, Crystal Palace rising star Wilfried Zaha has been a popular name. Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail states Arsenal will join a race that already includes both Manchester clubs and Liverpool.
Zaha has to potential to become a dominant lead striker like van Persie was for the Gunners. He's still developing and isn't prepared to make that type of impact yet, but the level of clubs looking at bringing him in shows how much respect there is for him.
How many players will Arsenal bring in during January?
Based on the interest, there will probably be a bidding war for him once the window opens. It would be huge if Wenger could find a way to land him over the other EPL powers.
Beyond another striker, Wenger doesn't seem keen on making any significant moves that would break the bank. His comments make it sound like he's going to key in on a couple players to help the attack and hope they come at a reasonable price.
The Gunners have been solid at the back aside from a few off matches, and the midfield has been bolstered by Santi Cazorla. So it's not a surprise Wenger doesn't sound willing to overspend at those positions during the high-priced window.
In other words, Arsenal fans shouldn't get their hopes up about a sudden flurry of transfers to transform the squad. Wenger appears poised to be more selective in his pursuits, which is the safe way to go, but surely won't please a fanbase desperate for changes.
It should make for an interesting start to the new year, to say the least.
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