Calling Fact or Fiction on Arsenal January Deadline Day Rumors
It's crunch time for Arsenal on the final day of the January transfer window.
The Gunners have little choice but to reinforce their squad with fresh legs and quality. The fact is that, with normal injuries and fatigue, Arsenal are probably not strong or deep enough to finish in the top four.
With almost any other club, multiple cost-effective signings would have been brought in by now to inject some energy and freshness into the team. But this is Arsenal, and, as such, Arsene Wenger has not recruited a single player.
However, the media knows how important it is for the Gunners to bring in at least one new face, so, despite Wenger's stubbornness, the rumors have not ceased.
Let's take a look at five of the most recent stories and determine whether they're true or false.
David Beckham: Fiction
Still a handsome man at 37. credit: The Times
It's only natural to wonder if David Beckham training with Arsenal means a move to North London is on the cards. After all, the Gunners could use the midfield reinforcement, especially from someone of his stature.
But, for better or worse, he won't be suiting up in the Emirates Stadium. And I'd argue that it's the former, considering how much Beckham struggled to keep up with the pace of MLS last season, which is glacial compared to the Premier League.
The bottom line is that, while Beckham is a free agent and can be signed even after the transfer window shuts, he is still months away from fitness, according to Arsene Wenger (via The BBC). The manager added that "there's no speculation about signing or anything."
That's that, then.
Mohamed Diame: Fiction
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It would certainly make sense for Mohamed Diame to move to Arsenal from a financial perspective. With a paltry reported release clause of a reported £3.5 million (via The Mirror), it would not take a lot for the Senegalese to provide return on investment.
However, it's likely that Arsene Wenger would deem him surplus to requirements from the moment he arrived at London Colney.
While Arsenal could use a strong defensive midfielder of Diame's ilk, Wenger has been loathe to employ one this season. Rather, he's opted for the metronomic pivote Mikel Arteta, who has been consistently outstanding. And in the Spaniard's absence, Aaron Ramsey has done a fine job filling in.
So while the critical financial part of the equation is solved in Diame's case, he is probably not the best tactical fit.
Christian Benteke: Fact
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Christian Benteke adores Arsenal, and Arsenal should adore him.
The powerful striker has put Aston Villa on his back at times this season, scoring twice as many goals as anyone else on the team and providing more assists than any of his teammates.
Olivier Giroud is the only true striker that Arsenal have, and certainly the only physical option that the Gunners have up front. Benteke would give Arsene Wenger an option off the bench late in games to add a totally different dimension.
Wenger monitored him during the summer, so he might well make a move for him now.
Adam Maher: Fiction
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He's 19 years old, he's developing rapidly, he's technically proficient, he's an attacking midfielder and his coach admits that Arsenal would be "a perfect club for him."
So why won't Adam Maher move to North London before February 1?
Two reasons: age and lack of need.
Maher is still a teenager, so he wouldn't have the immediate impact that Arsene Wenger would look for as he tries to reinforce his team for a tough run down the stretch.
Plus, Arsenal have lots of attacking midfielders, even if they are injury prone. Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky all like to play at the tip of midfield, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be transitioning there soon. So this doesn't make sense.
David Villa: Fiction
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As much as Arsenal fans would like this to be true, the sooner they reconcile themselves with the fact that David Villa is not coming to North London, the sooner they'll go through the five stages of grief.
According to Arsene Wenger (via The BBC), "Barcelona don't want to sell David Villa and have made it clear."
There is always a fair amount of brinkmanship and veiling of intentions that occurs during transfer season, but this one looks to be well and truly dead.
Don't get your hopes up, though. The signing would be a steal if the Gunners could pull it off, but as Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has said for weeks, expect David Villa to remain at the Camp Nou.