January is going to be a crucial month for Arsenal's Premier League title hopes in more than one sense. Not only are rivals Manchester City and Chelsea hitting form but Arsene Wenger must navigate a particularly important transfer window.
A 2-0 win against Cardiff on New Year's Day without the injured Olivier Giroud underlined the Gunners' potential for title glory in May, but a sprained ankle picked up by goalscorer Nicklas Bendtner illustrates the need for strength in depth at the Emirates.
Wenger on Bendtner: "He's gone through a lot so I want to give him great credit. Unfortunately he got injured, it could be weeks."#AFCvCCFC— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 1, 2014
The return of Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott to the first-team picture certainly helps, but a report by Neil Custis in The Sun (subscription required) claims that Arsenal could turn to Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov in the January transfer window as they seek to add more firepower to their team:
Arsenal are closing in on a shock £2 million swoop for Dimitar Berbatov.
Former Tottenham ace Berbatov would sign a one-year deal with the option of a second year.
Berba has previously said the Gunners suit his style of play, claiming: “Arsenal are the British Barca.”
Wenger is notorious for his determination to find value in the transfer market, and with Berbatov out of contract in six months and therefore available on the cheap, a deal could take place for the experienced striker.
Would Dimitar Berbatov be a success at Arsenal?
The 32-year-old may see his playing time at Fulham reduced following the Cottagers' loan signing of Clint Dempsey, but his two Premier League title wins as a Manchester United player would represent an attractive prospect for Wenger as he looks to coach his inexperienced side over the finishing line in May.
United made a similar move when they signed Henrik Larsson on a short-term loan deal in 2007 in order to help them win the 2006-07 Premier League.
The potential of introducing a player into the Arsenal ranks who would take no time to settle—due to almost a decade of Premier League experience—and is also not cup-tied for the Champions League, could prove too good to turn down for Wenger.
It is no secret that Arsenal were interested in signing Liverpool's Luis Suarez over the summer—per The Telegraph's Chris Bascombe—as well as Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Napoli from Real Madrid as reported by BBC Sport.
In the end, Wenger failed to bolster his attacking options and has been fortunate not to have lost the in-form Giroud to serious injury.
However, with the rigours of a long campaign now beginning to take their toll, the Gunners would be wise to invest in adequate back-up players if they want to cope with the potential absence of first-choice names, in the same way that City have coped with the absence of Sergio Aguero.