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Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Arsene Wenger's Most Pressing Needs for January Window

NAPLES, ITALY - DECEMBER 11:  Arsene Wenger head coach of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between SSC Napoli and Arsenal at Stadio San Paolo on December 11, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2013

The January transfer window is renowned for being a slower time of year than its more vibrant summer equivalent, the Emirates Stadium being as hard a location as anywhere else at which to do business.

The reasons as to why are myriad. Due to European competition, the Gunners' transfer targets may be specified more than they'd like, not to mention the fact that prices often become even more inflated on account of a club's reluctance to sell midseason.

However, Arsene Wenger will still have his main needs and priorities for the month of January in an effort to improve his squad and strengthen any run his team can muster toward winning silverware, both domestic and European.

Looking at the month ahead, read on for a breakdown of what business should rank highest on the Frenchman's to-do list. 

 

Tie Down Existing Loyalties

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Bacary Sagna of Arsenal arrives for the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on October 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal are one of the less flippant Premier League clubs when it comes to retaining the services of their players, often allowing a player's contract to run into its final year before opting for an extension.

Granted, the tactic has gone against them in the cases of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie over recent seasons, but it has shown its benefits in financial prudence on many an occasion, too.

This summer is no different in that it will see a certain group of players' deals come to their end unless an extension is signed. Before too much focus is put on who should be added to the roster, it would be wise to reward those already succeeding at the Emirates.

Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky would be the two most pressing cases with their contracts both running out in just over six months' time, with John Cross of the Mirror reporting that the former is raising a particular amount of interest across Europe.

 

Give Giroud Fresh Competition

Wenger is in a very tentative position right now: With Olivier Giroud, he has a striker finally showing some good form after a season of lesser form.

Without wanting to disrupt that too much, the Arsenal boss does need to add to his firing line, however, especially given that the forward has now gone seven games without a goal.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 30:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal arrives at Cardiff City during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Arsenal at Cardiff City Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Ima
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

The trick this winter will be balancing the attack in terms not only of talent but also morale, playing time and all the other factors that become commonplace for a Premier League boss.

Do Arsenal plump for a new striker signing of Mesut Ozil proportions and risk seeing Giroud fall off the scoring wagon altogether? Or do the Gunners go for a budget signing as backup, but at the risk of bringing in an inferior talent?

It's a point that the Irish Examiner's Miguel Delaney raised recently:

It's a fine line for the club to consider, but given that Nicklas Bendtner and Serge Gnabry are as good as it gets for striking options off the bench, some forward investment will be required.

The Mirror's John Cross recently reported that the English side are closing in on Standard Liege hitman Michy Batshuayi, who would appear to fall into the latter of the two categories discussed above.

 

Stability at the Back

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal celebrate defeating Stoke City after the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mi
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In a similar circumstance to Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have formed a centre-back partnership that Wenger will undoubtedly have become pleased with of late.

However, competition is never a bad thing and the club could do with another figure in defence capable of imposing himself on the pair but not necessarily demanding first-team football.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 25:  Victor Moses (R) of Chelsea is challenged by Fabian Schar (L) of FC Basel during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final First Leg match between FC Basel 1893 and Chelsea at St. Jakob Stadium on April 25, 2013 in Basel, Switzerla
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ideally, the Gunners would sign a centre-back capable of covering the right side of defence, not too unlike the kind of presence that Manchester United have in Phil Jones or Chris Smalling.

In that pursuit, Basel's Fabian Schar would fit the bill perfectly, and it's encouraging for Arsenal fans to hear that the two parties are already in contact regarding a move, per Paul Gorst of the Mirror.

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