As the deadline for the end of the January transfer window reaches its final hours, it appears—sadly for Arsenal fans—that the chances of Arsene Wenger opening his cheque book to strengthen his Gunners squad are slim.
Arsenal have long been linked with a number of central midfielders and strikers, but despite Wenger saying he was in the hunt for two players, it now appears as if there is not enough “quality” out there for him.
Here are the players that could have joined, and perhaps still will. Who knows, maybe Wenger has a master plan after all?
David Villa has struggled to break back into the Barcelona first team ever since breaking his leg. As a result, he has been linked with a move elsewhere, and to Arsenal particularly.
When he has been given a rare opportunity at the Nou Camp, he has always managed to shine, and there is no doubt he would be a fine addition to Wenger’s squad. Despite reportedly asking to leave the club, Barcelona are refusing to let him go, and can you blame them?
Meanwhile, the Gunners boss claims Arsenal have “enough quality strikers.” The last time I checked, they had two. At the age of 31, perhaps Arsenal were never prepared to splash out on such a high transfer fee and set of wages for Villa.
In a late twist, though, Manchester City could end up forcing Wenger’s hand.
When a player like Mohamed Diame has a release clause of just £3.5 million in his contract, he is always going to attract attention. The midfielder has been linked with a number of clubs and most frequently Arsenal, seeing as they have been left light in the midfield department ever since the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona.
With Abou Diaby struggling to stay fit for more than a handful of matches at a time, many see Diame as a natural replacement. While Wenger has spoken highly of the Hammers man, he is believed to be unsure about his defensive capabilities. Diame would be a good signing for Arsenal, but whether he could hold down a regular first-team place when everybody is fit is another question.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce claims he cannot see where his player would fit in at the Emirates and perhaps Diame thought about this when recently stating, “I want to stay here [West Ham]”.
Rumours have been flying around on Twitter that Arsenal have lodged a substantial bid for a player that, if accepted, would break their transfer record.
After everyone started to realise that the Gunners could not afford Edinson Cavani’s release clause of €60 or so million, despite Arsene Wenger strangely talking the striker up to the press, Stevan Jovetic is the new name on Arsenal fans’ lips. A player that has been coveted by Manchester City, who can afford anybody (for some time), must be a player worth having.
And at the age of 23, Jovetic still has his best years in front of him. With the player’s club, Fiorentina, having recently signed Giuseppe Rossi, whilst having made a loan offer for Juventus’ Fabio Quagliarella, perhaps the Italian club are paving the way for the Montenegrin’s exit. A fee of £22 million may or may not have been made by Arsenal. Watch this space.
Arsene Wenger is a box full of contradictions. So while he may say he has enough quality strikers one day, another day he admits he is short “numbers-wise.” He has always been a man who plays his cards close to his chest, so perhaps he has been after a striker all along.
Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez is another man believed to be on Wenger's list and has been linked to the club all month. Some say Arsenal have opened talks with the Spanish club. The player himself says he is ignoring the rumours, which suggests that is all they are. He has a release clause in his contract for £15 million, so he is well within Arsenal’s reach.
Lopez has not had the best of seasons this term, playing second fiddle to the unstoppable Radamel Falcao, and perhaps this is what has put Wenger off. Still, if he gets desperate at the final hour, he knows where to turn.