Arsenal

Arsenal Transfer News: Mario Yepes Lined Up, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Truth Revealed

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28:  Mario Yepes of Colombia reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2014

Arsene Wenger's search for defensive cover has left him scraping the free-agent barrel for resources, and reports suggest 38-year-old Mario Yepes could come to Arsenal on a short-term deal.

The Daily Star's Gary Jones cites reports in Yepes' native Colombia, suggesting the centre-back could move to north London and "is keen to test himself in the Premier League."

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28:  Mario Yepes of Colombia controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at Maracana on June 28, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Imag
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

This summer's sale of Thomas Vermaelen was expected to see a replacement arrive at the Emirates Stadium, considering the Belgian moved to Barcelona with plenty of time remaining in the transfer window.

However, despite approaches for Kostas Manolas and Daniel Agger, now of Roma and Brondby, respectively, Wenger saw his search go unanswered, per Jones' report.

Despite his age, Yepes was a key figure for Jose Pekerman's side at the 2014 World Cup, winning 52 percent of all his duels and performing nine defensive actions per game on average, per Squawka.

That being said, it does lead one to question the Gunners' ambitions to challenge for Premier league honours when a veteran of this calibre—recently parting ways with Atalanta—is deemed the most realistic option.

So advanced are his years that Yepes is even rumoured by South American journalist Juan Arango to be considering retirement, which is hardly an encouraging sign for Arsenal fans:

Wenger has a reputation for being frugal when it comes to transfer spending, but with his Premier League peers largely splurging in abundance, there is an air of expectation to be met.

The strike force was an area Arsenal were more successful in strengthening this summer, though, and contrary to deadline-day reports, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar did not find himself subject to a Gunners bid.

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29:  Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands celebrates scoring his team's second goal with a penalty kick in stoppage time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

That's according to Schalke general manager Horst Heldt, who this week told German magazine Kicker (h/t Daily Star's Nick Lustig): 

There was no approach from Arsenal or from any other club. Klaas-Jan is part of Schalke's core. We can definitely see him sign a contract renewal here. He is a great player, an absolute modern professional. He's always hungry for success and wants to achieve his goals.

Olivier Giroud's broken leg pushed Arsenal into a fresh state of urgency regarding their need for attacking options, and Danny Welbeck ultimately made a £16 million deadline-day switch from Manchester United.

It's not the first time Wenger has been linked with a move for Huntelaar, and OptaJohan points to the prolific form that would have attracted the Frenchman toward him once again:

The acquisition of Welbeck means Arsenal are at least satisfied in one area of the pitch that was lightened over the summer, with misfits Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu-Young both released.

The response to Welbeck's move has largely been positive, with most believing that with time in his favoured central role, the England international can rediscover his scoring touch.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices