Arsenal enter the January transfer window apparently in need of a forward and manager Arsene Wenger has signalled his intention to sign one if he can get the right player at the right value. The Gunner’s Premier League tilt could hinge on the action in January, similar to the situation when Andrey Arshavin was signed last season.
In typical Wenger fashion, he today played down his intentions, but he is heavily relying on the fitness of Nicklas Bendtner.
"If I find a really good opportunity we will do it but, for the rest, wait and see," he told The Independent. "If we have Bendtner, [Carlos] Vela, Eduardo, [Andrey] Arshavin and [Theo] Walcott coming back available, then we have quite a good number of strikers. We can be a bit more relaxed.
"Bendtner should join in [training] next week. His fitness is not too bad because he worked hard, but could only run in straight lines because he has a groin problem. Groin problems, they cannot change direction,” he continued.
“If Bendtner is a long term, we were in an absolute position to get a striker but not now. We can take it or leave it now if we don't find what we want."
Can Arsenal afford to take this risk if they want to lift the Premier League title at the end of the season? There are many rumours swirling around the internet, let’s take a look and evaluate them one by one...
The 23-year-old Bosnian was subject to interest from AC Milan in the summer, but he elected to sign a new contract, tying him to Wolfsburg until 2013. He has been prolific since moving to Germany, scoring 41 goals in 77 appearances and forming the highest scoring partnership in Bundesliga history with his strike partner Grafite.
He won the Bundesliga ‘Players’ Footballer of the Year’ award in the 2008-’09 season and has scored goals in both the UEFA cup and Champions League. The Bosnian forward was also included in the short-list for the Ballon d’Or this year.
Dzeko is a powerful forward who is good in the air and is capable of assisting goals as well as scoring them. At 6’3”, he would also add the extra dimension to Arsenal’s attack that perhaps Wenger’s side is missing since the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor in the summer.
The main problem is his price tag, rated at £20 million; he is quite expensive considering his relative lack of experience. Arsenal were linked with a move for Felipe Melo in the summer for a similar price, the argument was the midfielder was young and talented so was worth the money. Since his transfer to Juventus the Brazilian has looked average.
If Wolfsburg could be convinced to lower their price then a move could be in the offing, but as of now it remains unlikely.
Quality – 8/10
Chances of a January move – 4/10
The former Chelsea striker has flourished under the tutelage of manager Gianfranco Zola at West Ham United. Carlton Cole always showed promise, but looks to have finally started to deliver in the Premier League, scoring seven goals in 13 starts this year.
Considering his experience in his English football, he is still quite young – the Englishman is only 26 years old. Although he is quick, his game doesn’t rely on his pace, and he could continue to play at the top level for many years to come.
That would be attractive to Arsenal, the Croydon born player hasn’t reached his peak yet and looks like he will develop into a quality player. He can score goals but also works hard, and can link play between midfield and attack.
This would add another dimension to Arsenal’s attack, and his ability in the air would also be beneficial to the Gunners. He is the same height as Dzeko, at 6’3”, but has more Premier League experience. Another benefit is Cole would be available at a reasonable price, since West Ham has some financial problems and are struggling in the league.
Unfortunately for Cole, Wenger needs a player that is fit now and he is currently on the sidelines. Cole has a little monkey on his shoulder in that he is slightly injury prone. Do Arsenal really need a forward that can’t handle playing twice a week throughout the campaign? The club has enough of those.
Quality – 7/10
Chances of a January move – 2/10 (May be a summer target if Arsenal don’t bag the next forward on this list)
Not many get a second chance to join the Gunners, but Marouane Chamakh has returned to the radar of Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal were in for the Moroccan in a big way in the summer, but FC Girondins de Bordeaux rejected all overtures for their star man, despite being out of contract in 12 months. Bordeaux gambled that Chamakh would decide to sign a new contract with the club and have so far proved unsuccessful.
Chamakh fired Bordeaux to the Ligue 1 title last year, ending Lyon’s seven year dominance in the French league. The Moroccan scored 22 goals in 42 appearances that year and continued with seven goals in 14 appearances this season.
He is 26 years old tomorrow, has been at the club since 2002, and his overall record isn’t that impressive. Chamakh has only scored 55 goals in 232 appearances for the club, but over half of those goals have come in the last 18 months.
If this move happens it’s most likely that it will happen in the summer. Bordeaux won a Champions League group that contained both Bayern Munich and Juventus, have a winnable draw against Olympiacos in the last 16, and are running away with the French championship.
For the minimal fee the club would receive for Chamakh in January, they might as well him until the end of the season. This may well suit Arsene Wenger, who could pick up Chamakh for free in the summer.
Reports are emerging that Liverpool will sign Chamakh next week, but these should be taken with a pinch of salt. Chamakh himself is anticipating a move in the summer.
"My agent has been contacted by Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, Chelsea and Sunderland in the Premier League along with other clubs like Sevilla, Inter and Juventus," he told The Daily Mail.
"However, we do not have a concrete offer on the table at the moment and it is still a bit soon for such things.
"When the season ends, I will meet with my agent and we will evaluate all of the offers and decide what is the best for me from a footballing point of view. The economics are not the only important thing for me."
Quality – 7/10
Chances of a move in January – 2/10
Chances of a summer move – 7/10
This move seems even more unlikely than Chamakh’s, Gignac signed a one-year contract extension in the summer that was designed to send a message to club’s like Manchester United and Arsenal. Gignac will not come on the cheap.
His record this year isn’t stunning, scoring eight goals in 23 appearances this season. Three of those goals came in Europe, leaving Gignac with only five goals in 19 league appearances.
Wenger is aware of his talents, but has intimated that the price is too high.
"I like the player," he told Arsenal’s official website. "I don't need to send people to watch him because I know him well enough already because he plays for the French national team.
"Lyon tried to buy him last year for nearly £20million, so the price was too high."
Quality – 6/10
Chance of a January move – 0/10
Higuain has been rather tenuously linked with a move to Arsenal. The idea is that Cesc Fabregas will move to Real Madrid with Higuain being used as a make weight in the deal.
It’s just paper talk and will never happen in a million years, but Higuain would be a dream signing for Arsene Wenger. At 22 years of age, Higuain has made 90 appearances for Real Madrid, scoring 42 goals in the process.
His quality is outstanding; the Argentinean has scored 12 goals in 18 appearances this season with 10 goals in 12 La Liga games. His finishing is superb, he is lightening quick and is an intelligent player with creative flair.
It won’t happen though; Real Madrid will never sell him–surely a Ballon d’Or winner in waiting.
Quality – 9/10
Chances of a move – Non-existent
The 26-year-old Dutch forward has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the January transfer window, Wenger seems to think that he can’t sign the Hunter since he moved from Real Madrid in the summer. After he signed for AC Milan, Huntelaar has only scored three goals in 10 games.
Apparently Wenger was interested in signing Huntelaar when he moved to Real Madrid. If this is true, he looks to have dodged a bullet. Huntelaar has struggled since leaving Ajax last January and doesn’t have the pace to interest Wenger.
He won’t be moving to Arsenal.
Quality – 5/10
Chances of a January move – 1/10
No, Arsenal won’t be signing Adriano. Stop talking about it.
Adriano was badly affected by his father’s death and reportedly battled against alcoholism in that time. He left Inter Milan and returned to Brazil on unpaid leave, eventually rescinding his contract with the Italian giants.
He has settled with Brazilian side Flamengo, where he started his career, and has scored 19 goals in 30 appearances for the Brazilian Serie A club. It seems he is happy there and it’s probably best that he stays there, at least for the time being.
This entry was added at the request of Robin S.
Stefan Kiessling plays for German side Bayer Leverkusen and currently tops the goal scoring charts in the Bundesliga with 12 goals in 17 games. The 25-year-old previously played for Nuremberg, where he rose through the youth ranks to score 15 goals in 73 league appearances.
He is currently on the fringes of the Germany squad, making his debut against Denmark in an international friendly in 2007. Kiessling has only made two other appearances for his nation and is yet to score for Germany.
At £13 million, his price seems quite high considering his lack of international pedigree and relatively short time at the top of the goal scoring charts. In his favour, he has shown he is capable of scoring in the UEFA cup, finishing third in the 2007 goal scoring charts in the competition.
Another forward that is 6’3”, his size would add the same dimension to Arsenal’s attack that his rivals for a transfer to the Gunners would. The general feeling is Kiessling would act as a good foil for another striker in a 4-4-2 formation, which Arsenal doesn’t currently operate
It seems that Kiessling is hoping to force his way into Joachim Low’s plans for South Africa and then make a transfer to a bigger league.
“Stefan knows he has a big chance to play in the World Cup and he doesn’t want to do anything to affect that,” said Ali Bulut, the player’s agent.
"Can he move in the summer? Maybe.”
Kiessling himself has played down rumours of a January exit too.
"I haven't thought about leaving Bayer Leverkusen for a second,” he told Kicker. “I'm feeling extremely well here and I want to play in Europe with my current club. All the reports linking me with foreign clubs are nothing more than rumours."
Quality – 5/10
Chances of a January move – 2/10
Let me know if you’d like me to look at any other players. I've already added Stefan Kiessling.
Wenger obviously feels comfortable with the options currently available to him and it’s unlikely he will move for any of the players mentioned in January. He currently has Eduardo, Arshavin, Vela, Bendtner, and Walcott available – though with varying levels of fitness.
There is an outside chance that Wenger could recall Jay Simpson from his loan spell in the Championship, but considering Arsenal only play with one striker, can they really rely on a player like Simpson?
Besides, he does have decent options up front, and they are scoring goals. Chances are Wenger won’t make an attacking acquisition in January. Keep your eyes on Carlton Cole and Marouane Chamakh in the summer, though.