5 Forwards Arsenal Should Consider as Loan Signings in January Transfer Window
It is no secret that Arsenal's and Arsene Wenger's transfer priorities lie with bringing in a forward during the January transfer window. The usually frugal Frenchman does not like to splash the cash in January, so a loan deal looks the most likely of possibilities.
Wenger has already implied, to The Telegraph, that they will not rush in and make a major signing during January. He said:
We have not even been out on the transfer market, we have not contacted anybody.
We are just analyzing the situation, being very cautious until we are well informed about Bendtner, and Sanogo as well, because he is back in training now.
We will make a decision after that.
From here it looks as if the 64-year-old wants to keep his major buying until the summer and that he is gauging the fitness of his squad players before dipping his toe in the murky transfer waters.
Le Prof is normally a genius at finding underpriced players. Although, last summer, when he had to, he had no problem splashing the cash and smashing Arsenal's transfer record into the bargain when he signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.4 million.
This winter he badly needs a new striker, even if it has to be a loan deal.
Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner have both been carrying injuries in recent weeks and Theo Walcott is out for the rest of the season and the World Cup after rupturing his ACL against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. That leaves Arsenal with the lone choice of Lukas Podolski for the main striking role.
Here, Bleacher Report looks at five forwards that Wenger should most definitely run the loan rule over during the January transfer window.
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Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)
La Liga Games Played: 1 started (9 as substitute) Goals: 2
Champions League Games Played: 0 (2) Goals: 0
At the beginning of December, John Cross of Mirror Football reported that Arsene Wenger was not interested in either Alvaro Morata or Alexandre Pato.
However, that situation changed over Christmas when, according to Cross, Olivier Giroud got injured.
With the news that Nicklas Bendtner is out for a couple of weeks and that Theo Walcott is out for the rest of this season, the need to sign a striker in January has grown exponentially.
Morata is one of the most exciting prospects at Real Madrid and is loved by their support and coaching team. That basically means that a full transfer will not happen but that a loan move may, despite Carlo Ancelotti telling the Daily Mail that Morata was going nowhere in January.
Morata's capture would paper over the cracks until the summer.
It would be too much to expect from the young starlet to make a huge impact in just six months at the Emirates, especially in a title run.
Barcelona's Gerard Deulofeu is currently experiencing a similar style loan deal at Everton and is enjoying some success. It is worth noting though that the prodigious youth has only started two of the Toffees' 21 league games this season and has featured as substitute 10 times. It would be fair to expect something similar from Morata.
Where this deal does make sense is if Giroud, Bendtner and Lukas Podolski can remain fit.
The transfer window remains open for the entire month of January, and Wenger may gamble on making a decision, especially as the month contains two FA Cup fixtures. These weeks are basically rest weeks for injured players and will give Le Prof some wiggle room regarding transfers.
Should Bendtner come back fully fit by the end of the month then the Morata deal looks more likely. Giroud is already back in full training and is expected to return to first-team action as soon as possible.
This loan deal could potentially be the first step in Arsenal going after a much bigger target in the summer. Wayne Rooney anyone?
Mirko Vucinic (Juventus)
Serie A Games Played: 4 (4) Goals: 2
Champions League Games Played: 1 (1) Goals: 0
Arsene Wenger has been a long time admirer of Juventus' Mirko Vucinic according to the Daily Mirror. The newspaper reports that Beppe Marrota, Juve's Director General and Sports Department CEO, was in London over the Christmas period to discuss a potential sale of the Montenegrin international to both Arsenal and their North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur.
Vucinic would be an excellent addition to Arsenal's frontline and fits into the same category of centre-forward as Olivier Giroud. He is excellent at holding the ball up and at bringing his midfielders into the game.
At 30 years of age though, he does not exactly fit the profile of a Wenger signing. Up until this season, the striker was a firm regular at Juventus. However, according to Transfermarkt his contract is set to expire in 2015 and it would appear as if the Serie A champions are looking to sell the player to make some money before he can leave for free.
If Wenger could get Vucinic for the next six months on an expensive loan deal, perhaps for a million or two and by paying his wages at the same time, Juve may be willing to part with the striker until the summer.
Jeremy Menez (Paris St-Germain)
Ligue 1 Played: 5 (4) Goals: 2
Champions League Games Played: 1 (2) Goals: 0
Liverpool have been recently linked with a move for Jeremy Menez although the Metro is reporting that the-soon-to-be out of contract (Transfermarkt) forward is refusing to leave FC Paris Saint-Germain.
The 24-times capped French international is bound to become one of the most sought after free agents in football next summer. Should he make Didier Deschamps' World Cup squad for Brazil 2014, as is expected, and play well, the attacking midfielder-cum-forward could demand a massive signing on figure come next July.
Players of Menez's quality do not come on the market for free all that often and Arsene Wenger could steal a march on many other teams by moving for the star in January. He made his debut for Sochaux at just 15 and is the youngest ever player to make his debut in Ligue 1. He is also the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in Ligue 1.
A loan transfer fee for the rest of the season could be easily negotiated between the clubs and the only stumbling block would be if Menez actually wanted to go to London. Given that Arsenal have such a rich history with French players, they are in an obvious position of advantage over the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, who are sure to be interested, or even Chelsea.
If Wenger could capture Menez in January, the Gunners would be in the ideal position to negotiate with the player regarding a permanent move in the summer. It might also put Arsenal in a favorable position regarding Menez's PSG teammate Blaise Matuidi.
The combative box-to-box midfielder is out of contract this summer (Transfermarkt) and the queue for his signature is sure to be massive.
Joel Campbell (On Loan at Olympiacos from Arsenal)
Greek Super League Played: 13 (4) Goals: 6
Champions League Games Played: 2 (1) Goals: 0
At this very moment in time, Arsenal have no fewer than 12 players out on loan according to Transfermarkt.
The best and most successful of these players on loan has been Joel Campbell.
The Costa Rican, World Cup-bound, 21-year-old has enjoyed a great time with Olympiacos in the Greek Super League. He has even played in the Champions League this term. He impressed during his three performances as the Kokkinoi progressed to the round of 16 at the expense of Benfica. There, they will face Manchester United.
Campbell is a lively right-sided midfielder-cum-winger and is contracted to the Gunners until 2016. Importantly, he is contracted to stay in Greece until next summer. However, given Arsenal's current injury crisis and the need to bring in back-up for the strikers and for Serge Gnabry, Campbell fits the bill and will only cost compensation for breaking the loan deal.
One does not know how much it would cost Arsenal to bring Campbell home. It is, however, unlikely to cost as much as a loan deal or a permanent transfer.
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
MLS Played: 29 (3) Goals: 10
Champions League Games Played: 0 (0) Goals: 0
Thierry Henry has been training with Arsenal all through the winter in a bid to get ready for the new MLS season. In November, Arsene Wenger ruled a loan deal out for the striker according to The Guardian.
However, things have taken a serious turn for the worse since then. Theo Walcott is out for the rest of the season and both Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud have picked up small knocks recently, while Wenger's only other available striker, Lukas Podolski, is just returning from a long lay off.
At 36, it is fair to say that Henry's best Premier League days are behind him. There will always be a place for the Arsenal legend at the Emirates dining table, however. During his mesmerizing eight seasons there he won almost everything the game could throw at him and he is easily one of the greatest Arsenal players of all time.
During his last loan spell at the club he played seven games and scored twice.
This time around he would be only used as a back-up. He would be ideal to use against Coventry City in the fourth round of the FA Cup and give Giroud a valuable week off.
The new MLS season kicks off on March 8. Between now and then Arsenal play 10 matches including the FA Cup game against Coventry and the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 game against Bayern Munich.
Wenger could use Henry and hand pick the games to rotate Giroud, Bendtner and Podolski with Henry as back-up. Considering the Gunners face Sunderland AFC, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Stoke City during this stretch, he could do a lot worse than bringing in the legend for what would surely be his third and final bow at the Emirates.