Arsenal Transfer News: Latest Gunners' Rumors in Final Week of Transfer Window

Micky Shaked@@mickyshakedContributor IIIJanuary 27, 2014

Schalke's Julian Draxler celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between FC Schalke 04 and FC Basel in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Wednesday, Dec.11,2013. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The five remaining days in the January transfer window could be the busiest of Arsene Wenger’s year at Arsenal. The Gunners kicked off the transfer window’s final week at full speed today by retaining the French manager:

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is to extend his contract according to #afc chief exec Ivan Gazidis

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 27, 2014

With contract in hand, it is time for Wenger to turn his attention to the field, where many agree reinforcements are necessary.

Arsenal have yet to see a single new player put pen to paper in 2014 and Wenger remains coy on making any additions.

"There is nothing happening, honestly no," Wenger told Sky Sports. "We don't need to take players on the flanks - we have 17 players on the flanks."

But the rate at which names enter the Emirates rumor mill means that could change at any time. As does a new uniform deal with Puma that will add significant funds to the transfer war chest:

Arsene Wenger receives huge spending boost after Arsenal sign £150million deal for Puma to become kit supplier

— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 27, 2014

In fact, some major moves appear to be in the pipeline as Wenger looks to shore up his attacking options.

The hottest name in the headlines comes from the Bundesliga where Arsenal are looking to secure the services of top target and Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler. The 20-year-old German international has been linked with a move to the Gunners for months, but a transfer looks closer to reality than ever.

Widespread reports suggest Arsenal submitted a bid for Draxler but differ on the terms. Initially it looked as if Lucas Podolski was on his way back to Germany as part of a swap:

Schalke's Julian Draxler will not move to Arsenal in January despite Wenger's offer of £20m plus Lukas Podolski #afc

— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 22, 2014

But more recent reports suggest a straight-up money move:

Julian Draxler aims to seal £36m move to Arsenal with sources claiming a fee has been agreed #afc

— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) January 25, 2014

According to Matt Law of the Telegraph, the deal would make Draxler the second most expensive in Gunners' history. Though the German club are reluctant to part with their starlet, the feelings are not mutual from Draxler, who has been described as desperate to leave Schalke for the Emirates.

The young playmaker has three Champions League goals as well as four assists in 14 Bundesliga appearances this season. According to Wenger, Draxler could follow Robin van Persie as a midfielder converted into a striker under the Frenchman’s tutelage.

In the unlikely event that Draxler’s transfer breaks down, Arsenal have several backup targets on their radar.

First and foremost on that list is Lyon attacking midfielder Yoann Gourcoff, a player who seems to be on Arsenal’s list every transfer season:

Arsene Wenger is keen to tie up a deal for Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff this week #afc

— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 27, 2014

This move appears less certain, as Gourcuff allegedly professed his desire to stay with Lyon through the summer. Per Steven Green at Caught Offside:

Arsenal had once again been interested in landing his signature, however, their luck appears to be out this month and Gourcuff is expected to complete the entire term with Les Gones.

And his agent, Didier Poulmaire, has virtually confirmed this by claiming that two offers to leave were knocked back by the player earlier on in the window.

Gourcuff, who has recorded three goals and five assists in 13 appearances this season, would come at a considerable discount over Draxler. The one-time Ligue 1 Player of the Year possesses undeniable talent, but his inclusion into the squad would require a similar transition as Draxler.

Though Wenger is ready to make a run at the French international, his arrival appears unlikely.

Should Arsenal strike out on both Draxler and Gourcuff, they are still keen to break Mario Mandzukic out of his Bayern Munich purgatory. Rumors swirled of this pairing as soon as news of Robert Lewandowski’s imminent arrival at Allianz Arena hit headlines:

Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Mario Mandzukic linked with Gunners switch

— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) January 4, 2014

Bayern moved quickly to dispel any and all rumors of a Mandzukic departure, claiming a desire to discuss a new contract for the Croat. But there does appear to be a rift between the striker and coach Pep Guardiola, and Mandzukic is once again available:

Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Mario Mandzukic linked with Gunners switch

— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) January 4, 2014

He certainly has many a suitor, including Manchester United and Barcelona. And unlike Draxler and Gourcuff, Mandzukic fits more naturally into Arsenal's needs as a traditional striker and would take considerable pressure off Wenger to rely on Olivier Giroud and Niklas Bendtner.

If Franz Beckenbauer’s words mean anything, a move by Mandzukic away from Munich is likely to take place, but probably not until the summer. Per Sky Sports, he said:

Mandzukic could pack his bags. I see Lewandowski in the attack, his playing style is suited for (Pep) Guardiola's ideas than that of Manduzkic.

There are even more reasons why he could leave – even without him, Guardiola could still count on Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze in attack.

A fourth attacking option exists, as Wenger has reportedly been hot on the heels of Benfica forward Rodrigo Moreno. Originally reported by the Portuguese publication O Jogo (in Portuguese), the Brazilian-born Spaniard was one foot out the door to Zenit St Petersburg, but that £25 million bid remains untouched.

The 22-year-old attacker has provided Benfica with 17 goals in 43 league appearances over the last two-plus years and scored three goals in the U-20 World Cup for Spain.

In non-striker news, right-back Bacary Sagna could be on his way out the door. The 30-year-old, with the club since 2008, has been offered a new contract to stick around past this season:

Arsenal's contract offer to Bacary Sagna is a 3-year-deal at £80,000 a week. #AFC #FRA

— Duncan Castles (@DuncanCastles) January 27, 2014

But several clubs are hot on his trail, including one with a history of stealing away Gunners players:

Arsenal's Bacary Sagna linked with Manchester City transfer - Manchester City are reportedly considering raiding A...

— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) January 27, 2014

Not one to sit idly by, Wenger has already moved on a replacement. His new target: Frankfurt right-back Sebestian Jung. According to Wayne Vescey at, the German will cost around £7 million but may not make the switch until the summer.

Arsenal dispatch delegation to Germany for Julian Draxler & Sebastian Jung talks

— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) January 27, 2014

Jung fits the mold of a defensive-minded right back, occasionally venturing forward but always making his mark the primary order of business. He has three assists in the Bundesliga this seasonas many as Bayern defender David Alaba and fourth-most out of all defenders according to WhoScored.

Time remains short and Wenger stands by his stance that the team doesn't need reinforcements. From Liam Prenderville of the Mirror: "Overall we have a very strong squad. If something exceptional turns up we will do it but having said that not everybody will strengthen. They buy, but buy does not always mean strengthen."

But conventional wisdom suggests there will be at least a new face or two suiting up in a Gunners' uniform come Friday.


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