Arsenal Transfers: 5 Unlikely Players Arsene Wenger May Sign in January
Despite Arsene Wenger's infamous stinginess, Arsenal have many areas of weakness: a paucity of excellent midfielders, lack of quality on the wings and few capable strikers are all concerns.
If there has been one concrete rule of Wenger's transfer policy besides his penny-pinching, it has been the signing of obscure or unlikely players when everyone thought he would go for the bigger fish.
This year, some Arsenal fans hope that the Frenchman will change his ways, but that is about as likely as England abolishing its monarchy. Nevertheless, Wenger claims that the financial shackles are off, and money is available to be spent as needed.
So here are some more sensible, if unlikely, signings that Wenger might make.
Arsenal would do well to bring in a reliable backup and mentor to Wojciech Szczesny, and one can be had for free.
Mickael Landreau is a proven, established goalkeeper with over a decade and a half of experience in Ligue 1, and would be the sort of stable, reassuring hand that Arsenal have lacked on the bench for years.
Recently released by Lille due to differences with general manager Frederic Pacquet, Landreau fits Arsene Wenger's budget, and would probably be open to a move to a different country.
Arsenal would get a sure-handed cup goalkeeper and backup option, Szczesny would be given a priceless mentor and the Gunners would be able to keep their money.
Last season, Demba Ba tore through Premier League defenses, scoring 16 goals as the main striker in Newcastle's potent attack. He has not slowed his pace this year, netting 11 for the Toon.
In today's predatory transfer market, such a consistently lethal player is bound to cost a princely sum, right? Fortunately for Arsenal (and other potential suitors), Ba's release clause is just £7.5 million.
At that price, there are few better values on the transfer market today. What is so extraordinary about Ba's performances this season is that he has been banging in goals for a team that is two points above the relegation zone.
Surely a striker of his quality cannot stay at a stagnating club for long. Indeed, Ba himself has sent signals recently that he would be more than willing to consider an offer from Arsenal if it does arrive.
Your move, Arsene.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Stephan El Shaarawy has been an absolute revelation for AC Milan this season.
To say he is having a breakout year would be an understatement: In 22 appearances last season, the Italian scored four goals. In just two more this year, he has quadrupled that number, netting a staggering 16 for the Rossoneri.
Arsene Wenger is usually quite cryptic when discussing potential transfers, but he was remarkably candid about El Shaarawy. In The Daily Mail He is quoted as saying:
El Shaarawy is a very mobile, very technical young player. His philosophy fits perfectly with mine.
You never know. I just say I love the way he plays.
Though El Shaarawy would certainly break Arsenal's transfer record of about £16 million, it does not appear the least likely proposition
Hey, a man can dream, can't he?
Theo Walcott, as we all know, has less than a year remaining on his contract. If he waits until the summer, he can leave on a free transfer for a fat check from another team, but there is still some lingering hope that the Englishman will decide to commit his future to Arsenal.
Those dreams were buoyed somewhat after Walcott got his first ever start as a central striker in an Arsenal shirt. After the match, he said:
Talks are ongoing. It's going to be a slow process. It's taking a long time but hopefully something will happen soon.
Of course, as the new deals given to Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain show, when there is a will there is always a way.
Let's just hope that Walcott makes a decision and prevents Arsenal from losing one of their best players for a third year in a row.
Regardless of whether Thierry Henry returning to Arsenal for a third spell is a good thing for the club, the King's return is looking progressively less likely by the day.
The New York Red Bulls' new sporting director Gerard Houllier moved to quash the persistent rumors linking Henry with the club that has him cast in bronze, claiming that Arsenal have not made contact over a potential loan move, and that there is little desire from Henry to go back to the Emirates.
Still, imagine what the impact of a second return would be.
Granted, Henry is nothing close to the player he was in his heyday, but his presence around the locker room and the energy he imbues would be great for an inconsistent side.
Assuming that his return does not preclude or discourage Arsenal from signing better, long-term options, there would be nothing wrong with giving Thierry Henry a final bow.