Hakan Calhanoglu continues to display terrific potential for Hamburg in the Bundesliga. So even though the midfield won't be Arsenal's main source of concern heading into the winter transfer window, trying to make a deal for the rising star should still be a priority.
It appears there could be mutual interest with the window quickly approaching. David Kent of the Daily Mail passed along comments the attacking midfielder made to German outlet Bild, in which he said it was nice to get recognized by the current Premier League leaders.
"It is a great honour for me when a club like Arsenal show their interest in me," Calhanoglu told Bild.
Calhanoglu possesses a lot of talent, as he showed with Karlsruher, but it was unclear what type of impact he would be able to make in the top division of German football at age 19. He's made the transition look easy, scoring a handful of goals and earning himself regular playing time at Hamburg.
When a player enjoys that type of success in a top European league at such a young age, he is almost always going attract attention from top clubs. Thus, the reported interest from Arsenal certainly doesn't come as a major surprise.
Arsene Wenger made a big splash over the summer when he brought in Mesut Ozil. While that high-profile move helped bolster the Arsenal attack, the veteran manager knows he's not going to sign a player with that type of track record and quality every window.
Often, it's about making smaller moves with an eye toward the future. That would obviously be the case for Calhanoglu, who's drawn comparisons to Ozil but would have to earn playing time at the outset amid a crowded Gunners midfield.
Ozil and Jack Wilshere have both been in good form as the halfway mark of the campaign approaches. And Theo Walcott put together a very strong performance against Manchester City. If he starts playing well, the attacking midfield will be in good shape.
So Calhanoglu likely wouldn't walk into as important of a role with Arsenal as he currently plays for Hamburg. That's something he would need to consider before making a move to the Premier League, but if he's fine with fighting for playing time, it'd represent the next step in his career.
Former Hamburg manager Thorsten Fink talked to the Bundesliga's official site about his upside before the season began:
The self-confidence and cheekiness I have seen from Hakan so far tells me that he has no intention of being built up slowly here. He’s already got itchy feet. We’re certainly not going to overdo things with him, but I’m really excited about seeing these young, wild players who are desperate to be successful. Arslan, Calhanoglu, Demirbay, Sobiech, Tah: this is going to be a great gang of little rascals, but if needs be, I’m not scared of reining in their enthusiasm.
So there's certainly belief in the young midfielder, and based on the his comments, he clearly appreciates the interest from Arsenal. The Gunners must try to capitalize on that in the winter window because if he stays at Hamburg and continues to shine, the amount of interest will skyrocket by the summer.
Wenger should make a strong push to sign him in January and then carve out a niche for him in the second half of the campaign so he can get his feet wet in the Premier League. Then, as he continues to develop, that role will continue to increase.
The longer Arsenal wait to make an attempt to sign him, the more expensive the move is probably going to become. That's why trying to lock him down before that value begins to rise rapidly is the best possible option.
It's unclear if a deal is actually possible, but Arsenal should certainly try to add Calhanoglu to the potential championship squad.