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Arsenal Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 16

Alex DimondUK Lead WriterDecember 17, 2013

Arsenal Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 16

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    It's now barely two weeks until the January transfer window opens, and clubs will be moving frantically to strengthen their squads ahead of the second half the season.

    Sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table, Arsenal look better set than most. But will the prospect of a first major trophy since 2005 inspire Arsene Wenger to add one or more new players to give his squad some extra depth—especially after last weekend's emphatic defeat at rivals Manchester City?

    That certainly seems to be the view of the media, with the club linked to a number of different players almost every day.

    We are collecting all those stories in one place, so click on for the latest rumours surrounding the Gunners. This article will be updated on a daily basis.

    —LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY DECEMBER 19th—

Gunners Weigh Up Diego Costa Prospects

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Arsenal scouts will watch Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa twice before the winter break, as they continue to evaluate whether to make a bid for the striker in January.

    Costa has been in prolific form this season, establishing himself as one of the best goalscorers in Europe. That has attracted the interest of Arsenal, with the player's €32 million release clause a tempting figure for such a player.

    The Daily Mail reports:

    Arsenal are continuing to watch Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, with the Brazilian goal machine carrying a £32million release clause.

    Gunners scouts will travel to Atletico's two games this week against Sant Andreu and Levante, but it is thought the North London club do not wish to stretch to the 25-year-old's release clause.

    Arsenal are looking to bolster their frontline in January, with a lot of responsibility on Olivier Giroud's shoulders so far this season.

    It seems unlikely, however, that Atletico would sell for anything less than the release clause—especially with Champions League knockout stage action and a La Liga challenge still to come in 2014.

Arsenal Approached About Casillas Option

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Representatives for Iker Casillas have spoken to Arsenal about the possibility of the Real Madrid goalkeeper going on loan to the club, according to the Daily Mirror.

    Casillas is currently on the bench for Real, but is worried the reduced playing time will harm his World Cup ambitions. Agents working for him have thus spoken to both Manchester City and Arsenal about a temporary switch.

    The Mirror reports:

    Real Madrid superstar Iker Casillas is being touted around the Premier League for a sensational January switch.

    Manchester City and Arsenal have both been sounded out by agents, as Casillas is worried about his World Cup place.

    The Spain captain, 32, has lost his automatic place at Real and fears that could cost him his position as his country’s No1 next summer.

    Title-chasing City could be ready to look for a new keeper as Joe Hart lost his place and replacement Costel Pantilimon may not be seen as the permanent answer.

    Arsenal’s No1 Wojciech Szczesny has just signed a new mega contract and is enjoying the best season of his career.

    But No.2 Lukasz Fabianski is set to join Schalke and the Gunners have on-loan Emiliano Viviano as third choice so a deal for Casillas would seem unlikely, but the Londoners have been sounded out.

    With Szczesny entrenched as the No. 1, however, it would seem unlikely that Casillas would move to the Emirates to be No. 2—especially as he would also be cup-tied for the Champions League.

Arsenal's Pastore Interest Could Spark Transfer Merry-Go-Round

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    Javier Pastore could join Arsenal or Liverpool in January, which would pave the way for Paris Saint-Germain to buy Juan Mata from Chelsea, according to the Daily Star.

    The newspaper reports that Arsenal and Liverpool are both keen on the Argentine playmaker, and may be able to lure him to the Premier League in the winter transfer window as PSG look for ways to make space to bring in long-term target Mata.

    The Star reports:

    Reports in France indicate the Ligue 1 toppers are still very keen to land Mata but want to sell a current player before starting negotiations with the Blues, in a deal that could be worth as much as £40 million.

    Pastore made the switch to PSG in 2011 from Palermo for a reported fee of nearly £40 million, but has failed to reach the heights of his hefty price-tag.

    The Argentina international was one of the first major signings since PSG's Qatari takeover, but has failed to nail down a starting spot in Laurent Blanc's first-team with the subsequent acquisitions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani.

    The Premier League rivals have both been linked with a potential bid in January for the midfielder's services, as Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers look to strengthen as the league title race heats up.

Luis Suarez Still the Dream for Wenger

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    It seems Liverpool striker Luis Suarez remains Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's dream purchase, at least according to Colin Harvey of the Daily Star.

    The tabloid quotes Wenger at length, indicating that his desire to sign the Premier League's top scorer has not waned since that infamous failed £40,000,001 bid of the summer.

    The Star reports:

    Suarez was furious at Liverpool's refusal to sell him at the time but he certainly hasn't let it affect him on the pitch as his regular, stunning goals have set the Premier League alight.

    His application, form, desire and commitment earnt him the honour of being Liverpool captain for his side's 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham in the absence of Steven Gerrard.

    Wenger said: "I think that every defender in England hates playing against him. He has a strong, provocative personality.

    "From the information I gathered on him it appears that on a day-to-day level he is really easy to work with.

    "Also that he's respectful, he loves training, he's an angel. He turns into a demon when he's on the pitch.

    "We all dream about having players like that."

    It looks like it will have to continue to be just a dream for Wenger as Liverpool would be foolish to let Suarez go.

    Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool hierarchy will be readying themselves for plenty of big offers in January, such has been the striker's brilliance this season.

    They will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of their star man who has 17 goals in just 11 appearances.

Mitroglou Links Won't Go Away for Arsenal

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Olympiakos forward Kostas Mitroglou continues to be linked with Arsenal and other top Premier League sides.

    The Daily Star's Gary Jones reported on Tuesday that the Greece international is a top target of both Arsenal and Liverpool, as the two sides look to strengthen their attacking options in January.

    The Star reports:

    The frontman, 25, has been scoring for fun at Olympiakos and has caught Wenger's eye as he searches for a back-up to Olivier Giroud to maintain the Gunners' position at the top of the Premier League.

    The £7.5million-rated Greek international, 25, has scored 22 goals for club and country this season.

    Olympiakos coach Jose Miguel Michel said “If he keeps on doing well, it will be hard to keep him.

    “We’ve known for some time that there has been interest from many clubs, but that’s only logical considering how well he has been doing lately.

    Mitroglou currently plays alongside Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell, which Wenger could use to his advantage to tempt Olympiakos.

    However, with Olympiakos into the last 16 of the Champions League, it remains to be seen how open the club will be to a January sale—or how keen Arsenal will be to move on their interest, with the player cup-tied from European action for the remainder of 2013-14.

Asmir Begovic Says No to Possible January Move to Arsenal

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    One player who will not be joining Arsenal in January, it seems, is Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who has dismissed reports of an imminent departure from the Britannia Stadium.

    The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has long been linked with any top club in need of a goalkeeper, and, despite Wojciech Szczesny seeming to consolidate his position as the Gunners' No. 1 in recent weeks, Begovic had been mentioned in dispatches with a move to the Emirates.

    Metro reports:

    It looks like sought-after Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic will be staying put, despite attracting the interest of the Premier League big boys.

    Arsenal and Manchester City have both been linked with the 26-year-old stopper, but appear to have little chance of luring him away from the Britannia during next month’s window.

    Apparently unfazed by the rumours, the big Bosnia stopper, signed from Portsmouth for £3.25 million in 2010, expects to be at Stoke when the World Cup kicks off in six months’ time.

    "I don’t pay much attention to it [the speculation]," Begovic said. "I take it as a huge compliment if people are saying nice things but there’s a pressure to keep performing so I have to concentrate on my job each and every day.’

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