The January transfer window will mark an important period of the season for Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman’s team currently sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League and have advanced to the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
Arsenal have improved dramatically since their loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the league season, and now is the time for Wenger to take full advantage of his club’s rising stock.
Who knows how the first five months of 2014 will play out, but right now Arsenal Football Club looks like an enticing destination for top players.
If Wenger plays his cards right over the next six weeks, the Gunners could find themselves in an even better position come the end of January.
While there are no sure bets when it comes to the ever-revolving transfer market, here’s a look at those players Arsenal have the best chance of capturing in January.
Corinthians rejected a £6.6million bid from Arsenal for Pato earlier this month, according to Alex Richards in the Mirror.
The Brazillian may be the most realistic target to land in North London if Wenger is willing to add an extra few million to his bid.
Pato hasn’t had the best time of it since swapping AC Milan for Corinthians in January and he has seen his playing time limited in recent weeks.
While that may raise alarm bells for Arsenal fans, Wenger has a knack of picking up talented players struggling for form and putting them back on their feet.
While Pato would represent something of a risk, he would provide Arsenal with exactly what they need: cover for Olivier Giroud.
He isn’t the type of star name, like a Luis Suarez, that would see Giroud’s starting time reduced. Instead, he would complement the Frenchman, who has been one of Arsenal’s standout players this season.
Gundogan has been sidelined with a back injury since the start of the season, but if he can overcome it before the window opens, there will a whole host of names after him.
Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all thought to be interested in securing his services—per Nick Lustig in the Daily Star.
According to Lustig, Wenger is a huge admirer of the Borussia Dortmund star.
But do Arsenal need the 23-year-old?
Gundogan is a class player, but he is of similar mould to other Arsenal players. If he was to join the Gunners he would likely be required to take up a deeper role in midfield, which would restrict his ability to show off his skills going forward.
Mulumbu admitted himself he has had an approach from Arsenal and he could leave West Bromwich Albion this winter, according to Barry Glendenning in the Guardian.
The Congolese international later backtracked—per Ben Burrows of the Mirror—saying he was misquoted.
Whatever was or wasn’t said, the rumour seeds were firmly planted.
Mulumbu would offer Arsenal some additional steel and grit in the heart of midfield. Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini have performed admirably this season, but Mulumbu would give the Gunners some additional strength and athleticism.
Mitroglou is arguably one of Europe’s most in-form strikers at the minute. He bagged 21 goals for club and country this campaign before picking up an injury.
He is an out-and-out goalscorer and he would give Arsenal something they don’t currently possess: a 20-goal-a-season man.
According to Lustig in a separate Daily Star article, Wenger has been keeping tabs on the Greek international.
Will the striker leave Olympiacos, who have qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds, in a World Cup year? That is the question.
Harry Pratt of the Daily Star says Wenger believes “Benteke’s firepower, which destroyed Arsenal on the opening day of the campaign, would be perfect for his team’s title charge.”
Aston Villa’s prized asset was benched at the weekend after experiencing something of a drought in front of goal, but there is no denying Benteke’s ability.
Arsenal will need to fend off interest from Spurs and Manchester United, according to Pratt, if they’re to secure the Belgian’s signature.
Calhanoglu’s agent recently said he expects Arsenal to make a bid for the player dubbed the “new Ozil” in January—per Gary Jones in the Daily Star.
The attacking midfielder has had a breakthrough year in the Bundesliga with Hamburg, scoring four goals and assisting a further two.
While the Turkish international would be a realistic target, there are other positions in the Arsenal squad that require more urgent attention than attacking midfield.
Having said that, at 19 years old, Calhanoglu would be an investment in the future.