Arsenal Transfer Rumors: Sorting out the Likelihood of January Transfer Deals
The January transfer window is upon us, and Arsenal could be busy in the market as they chase a first Premier League title in 12 years.
“I’ll be busy, that’s for sure,” manager Arsene Wenger said late last month, per the Press Association (h/t Guardian Sport). “I’m already busy and I said already one month ago we are a bit short to deal with all the competitions we face, especially in midfield. We will be busy, yes.”
So, who will the Gunners sign? We're glad you asked. Here, Bleacher Report rates the plausibility of some of the biggest transfer rumors swirling around the club.
Mohamed Elneny Deal Being Held Up by Work Permit
Let's start with the transfer story most familiar to Gooners at the moment. Basel's Egypt international midfielder Mohamed Elneny is set to join Arsenal, but the deal is being held up by work-permit issues, according to widespread sources.
At the Daily Star, Jonathan Green reports that Elneny has passed his medical but is waiting to complete a £7 million move because of the work permit. At ESPN FC, Peter O'Rourke notes that Egypt's FIFA ranking (57) is too low to ensure that Elneny receives a work permit in Britain. He adds that Arsenal might have to appeal for a "special dispensation" in order to secure one.
With so many sources reporting the same thing, the likelihood is that Arsenal are nearing a deal to sign Elneny from Basel. And I've only cited a couple of reports. See for yourself with a quick Internet search—the story is, in a word, rampant.
So the question now is whether Elneny would be a good signing for Arsenal. Here at Bleacher Report, Sam Tighe has written that the Egyptian is not the Francis Coquelin-esque midfielder the Gunners need. However, ESPN FC's Michael Yokhin has argued that Elneny would be an excellent buy.
Who's right? If the work permit goes through, we should find out soon enough.
Arsenal Lining Up Massive Bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
Aubameyang, 26, has scored 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances this season, making him the leading scorer in Germany's top flight.
Verdict: Don't hold your breath
Sure, Arsenal might very well be interested in Aubamyang. The Gabon international is a hot commodity these days, and for good reason. He's an excellent forward, and he's enjoying a fine season with Dortmund.
However, the fee is rather high, especially for a noted penny-pincher like Arsene Wenger. It's true that Wenger has spent a similar sum for Mesut Ozil, but that was a summer deal. If he stays true to form, Wenger will refuse to pay over the odds in the winter window, even for a player of Aubamyang's abilities. (Transfermarkt rates Aubameyang at £35 million.)
Besides, if any Premier League club has the inside track on Aubameyang, it might be Liverpool. The Reds' manager, Jurgen Klopp, previously worked with the forward at Dortmund.
Gunners Interested in Chicharito?
With Arsenal pushing for the title, several reports are linking the Gunners with attacking reinforcements. That makes some sense. If Arsene Wenger's table-toppers are going to hold off Manchester City (and perhaps Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur) and lift the trophy, they'll need all the help they can muster.
What doesn't make sense, however, is a move for Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez.
Yes, the Mexican striker could boost Arsenal's options, but the timing is all wrong. "Chicharito" only joined the German side in the summer after ending a disappointing spell with Manchester United.
Even if Arsenal are willing to spend £25 million to acquire the player (h/t Kevin Palmer at the Independent), Leverkusen have no reason to sell.
"It's easy to reject offers when you are in a position in which you don't need to sell," said Rudi Voller, the club's sporting director (h/t Sky Sports). "We are in such a position. We will keep the players we want to help us achieve our goals."
And as Bleacher Report's Gianni Verschueren has written, the deal wouldn't make sense for Arsenal either:
Hernandez is an excellent forward who fits Leverkusen's attacking philosophy like a glove, but at the Emirates Stadium, he would likely find himself in a similar situation as his time at Old Trafford. Giroud is just a better target man, and when healthy, he's very likely to start over Hernandez.
Would Arsenal really spend £25 million for a backup?
Verdict: Not realistic
Mathieu Debuchy to Depart?
Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy is set to leave the club in search of regular playing time, according to multiple reports. The France international is concerned he will lose his place in the national team after falling behind Hector Bellerin in the pecking order at Arsenal.
Per Football Italia (h/t Liam Corless at the Daily Mirror), Roma could present an offer for the 30-year-old. "It's not impossible Debuchy will leave," the article quotes manager Arsene Wenger as saying. "I'm happy for him to stay, but we'll see.”
Verdict: Highly likely
If Debuchy wants to play for France at Euro 2016, he needs regular first-team football. He knows this as well as anyone. For first-team football, he'll probably have to leave Arsenal.
Ezequiel Lavezzi to Snub Arsenal for Spurs?
Arsenal are interested in signing Ezequiel Lavezzi from Paris Saint-Germain this winter but could lose out to rivals Tottenham Hotspur. That's according to French TV station Telefoot (h/t Telegraph Sport).
The rumor is nothing new, with Metro reporting in December that Arsenal had lodged an offer with PSG for the Argentina international. Two months previous, the same source claimed the Gunners would make a "last-ditch attempt" to sign Lavezzi.
Verdict: Not likely
The reports continue to change, but one thing remains constant. In all the rumors, Lavezzi is interested in a team other than Arsenal. With his contract set to expire in the summer, Lavezzi might be available, but he probably won't end up in (the red half of) north London.