Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Handed £70m to Spend Amid January Rumours

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Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger Handed £70m to Spend Amid January Rumours
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Arsenal have reportedly given manager Arsene Wenger £70 million to spend on an "exceptional" player before the January transfer window closes.   

That's according to a Tuesday report from James Olley of the Evening Standard, with Metro's Alex Brodie noting the money has been "promised" to the Frenchman, who said in regard to the Gunners' plans this winter after they landed Basel's Mohamed Elneny, "We are always open to exceptional cases."

Though Wenger may have those considerable funds available to him, it of course does not mean he'll be splashing it all out on one player, if indeed he brings anyone else in at all. Even £70 million might not be enough for some of the players Arsenal have been linked to, though.

Carlo Baroncini/Associated Press

For example, Brodie noted in his report that Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain is a "long-term target" for the Gunners but has a release clause of £76 million.

The Argentinian has been in exceptional form this season with 23 goals and three assists to his name in 26 appearances. Though a further £6 million isn't much of a stretch at that point, Wenger isn't likely to splash that amount of money on a 28-year-old, and Napoli aren't likely to let him go for less, as he's set to be a key figure in their title challenge in Serie A.

Likewise, Arsenal have been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but after he racked up 27 goals and six assists this campaign, the club reportedly won't even sell him for £75 million according to the MailOnline's Ben Grounds.

Per Bild (h/t Grounds), BVB chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said that "even if such an offer would come in, that would be irrelevant for us. We are simply not selling Auba."

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Undoubtedly somewhat cheaper would be Southampton's Victor Wanyama, with Nick Ames of the Guardian reporting Arsenal "are still monitoring" the midfielder.

Similarly, Olley's report indicated they "have asked to be kept informed of midfielder Adrien Rabiot's situation" at Paris Saint-Germain, with Brodie noting the Frenchman could cost £15 million.

However, after capturing Elneny, the Gunners seem unlikely to make further additions to their midfield this winter, even if a player of Wanyama's or Rabiot's quality could potentially be available for a reasonable price.

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Amid Arsenal's shock 4-0 defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, football writer Miguel Delaney noted the Gunners should be making a decisive move in the title race by recruiting two players in January:

Elneny's signing has addressed one area of need in the midfield, though another forward option could be useful. A more realistic target than Higuain and Aubameyang is Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams, per Brodie.

The versatile 21-year-old has scored 10 goals and assisted three in an impressive season with Los Leones, and his pace and technique could see him fit in very well at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal blogger Andrew Allen believes the Gunners' transfer activity started and ended with Elneny:

Is Wenger taking a risk if he doesn't sign anyone else in January?

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Indeed, Wenger has often had plenty of money available to him and rarely splashed out on big-money signings, particularly in January, so even if he does have £70 million to spend this winter it wouldn't be at all surprising if the Gunners shut up shop until the summer.

This season represents Arsenal's best chance in a decade to claim the Premier League title, so it would be risky not to make further recruitment in a bid to secure it.

If their injured players can successfully return and stay fit, it may not have been needed, but if the Gunners fall short, Wenger's failure to make serious outfield additions will be highlighted as a large factor in them missing out.

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