Arsenal: 10 Players the Club Might Sign in the January Transfer Window

Sports WriterCorrespondent INovember 12, 2010

Arsenal: 10 Players the Club Might Sign in the January Transfer Window

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on October 30, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Image
    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Arsenal have never been prolific spenders under Arsene Wenger and that trend is unlikely to end anytime soon. However they have made a couple of big money signings in the January transfer window, notably splashing out £10.5 million on Jose Reyes in 2004 and £15 million on Andrey Arshavin in 2009.

    There is a good chance Wenger will add at least one new face this coming January particularly if Arsenal's erratic form which has seen them lose at home to both Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion continues.

    Here are 10 players which Wenger might consider signing:

Mark Schwarzer

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    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Mark Schwarzer of Fulham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Fulham at The Hawthorns on October 23, 2010 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Arsenal tried to sign the Fulham shot stopper in the Summer but couldn't agree on a fee. Manuel Almunia has made a couple of high profile errors this season and Lucas Fabianski has failed to entirely convince, despite some strong performances.

    Fabianski was culpable for Newcastle United's winner at the Emirates Stadium but put in a solid performance against Wolves a few days later. Wenger has a history of showing faith in his goalkeepers but this pattern has repeated itself over the course of the past few seasons. Arsenal goalkeepers tend to play well for a short period of time only to end up making a costly error.

    If Wenger does decide the time is right to bring in a new goalkeeper than Schwarzer will probably be top of the list although Fulham might well be reluctant to sell the 38 year old Australian in mid season.

    Schwarzer is known to want to move to Arsenal.

Shay Given

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    DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 08:  Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given reacts during the EURO 2012 Qualifier Group B match between the Republic of Ireland and Russia at Lansdowne Road on October 8, 2010 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty I
    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Arsenal supporters still remember the man of the match performance Shay Given put in at Highbury a few years ago and he would be a very popular signing. He was highly unfortunate to lose his place to Joe Hart and currently cuts a disconsolate figure on the Manchester City bench.

    Given is still the first choice keeper for his country but he has yet to make a single club appearance this season and Roberto Mancini has not even given him a run out in the Carling Cup or Europa League.

    Widely regarded as one of the best number ones in the Premiership he will surely agitate for a move in January and would provide an instant long term solution to Arsenal's ongoing goalkeeping problems.

    Mancini will be reluctant to lose him as he will remember how only last season Given suffered a long term injury which left the club severely short of goalkeeping options. However it would be difficult for even Manchester City, who have a habit of stockpiling expensive players, to stand in the way of a world class keeper who has not seen first team action all season.

    Given would be perfect for Arsenal and Wenger would surely welcome a player of his calibre. Manchester CIty are highly unlikely to sanction his move to a direct rival though and would probably encourage him to join an overseas team. A move to Fulham, potentially facilitating the departure of Schwarzer to Arsenal, might be a possibility.

Jan Vertonghen

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    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 25:  Jan Vertonghen of AFC Ajax in action during the Champions League Play-off match between AFC Ajax and FC Dynamo Kiev at Amsterdam Arena on August 25, 2010 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Im
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Vertonghen has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal. He formed an extremely effective defensive partnership with Belgian international team mate Thomas Vermaelen in the season they played together at Ajax.

    Ajax are traditionally a selling club and, should they fail to make it into the knock out stages of the Champion's League, a January bid of in excess of  £8 million would probably be too good to turn down.

    Vertonghen is primarily a centre back but he is used as a defensive midfielder for Belgium and can also play at left back. His versatility would appeal to Wenger who is short of adequate cover for Alex Song and might want to utilize a more defensively minded left back at the expense of Gael Clichy on ocassion.

    The only downside is that Vertonghen is cup tied and cannot appear in the Champion's League, but Wenger did sign Arshavin under similar circumstances.

Gary Cahill

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    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Gary Cahill of Bolton in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Bolton Wanderers at The Hawthorns on October 2, 2010 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty I
    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    The Bolton Wanderers centre half has been heavily linked with Arsenal and his club are definitely looking to do business in January in order to balance the books.

    Arsenal's most influential defender, Thomas Vermaelen, is out for the season and it has been suggested that this is an area which Wenger might look to reinforce.

    He currently has Laurent Koscielny, Sebastian Squillaci and Johan Djourou at his disposal with Håvard Nordtveit probably not ready for first team action just yet. Alex Song has been used as a makeshift centre half but his presence in the centre of midfield is always badly missed.

    With Koscielny serving a two match ban after his second dismissal of the season Arsenal are already looking short of numbers in the defensive area. English players come at a premium though and Bolton are believed to have slapped a prohibitive £15 million price tag on Cahill.

    The most that Arsenal have ever paid for a defender was the £10 million Wenger splashed out on Vermaelen who was an experienced international and the Ajax club captain. It is highly unlikely that Wenger will brake the bank for Cahill but that probably won't stop the media from continuing to link the Bolton centre half with the club.

Phil Jagielka

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21:  Phil Jagielka of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on August 21, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Arsenal tried to sign Phil Jagielka in the summer but lost interest when Everton demanded a similar fee to the £22 million they received from Manchester City for Joleon Lescott.

    That was prior to the arrival of Sebastian Squillaci who was signed for a much more modest £3.5 million. It is possible Wenger could rekindle his interest in Jagielka in January but it is unlikely that Everton will be willing to lower their demands.

    Jagielka is not the type of player to agitate for a move and this is another deal which is unlikely to get done until at least the end of the season. The former Sheffield united defender would provide some much needed solidity in the centre of defence and ultimately could be a long term partner for the injured Vermaelen.

    Signing a player of Jagielka's calibre would give Arsenal five first team centre backs, one too many, meaning that either Djorou or Squillaci would probably have to move on. The former is a prospect who Wenger will be reluctant to part with while the latter has impressed since joining from Sevilla.

    Koscielny has been a little inconsistent but Wenger is not the type of manager to splash out £9 million on a player only to lose faith in him after a handful of games.

    Jagielka is probably the right player for Arsenal but January will almost certainly be the wrong time for him to make the move from Everton.

Siyanda Xulu

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    The 18 year old South African defender is believed to have impressed during a recent trial with Arsenal. He is already a regular for Mamelodi Sundowns but the step up from South African domestic football to the Premier League is a big one.

    Talk of Xulu potentially  providing cover for the injured Vermaelen is a little premature as he would probably be behind Håvard Nordtveit, who has Bundesliga experience, in the pecking order.

    Securing a work permit for Xulu would also be far from straightforward and he is not a player who is likely to be appearing in the Arsenal first team anytime soon. However it is possible a deal to bring him to the club could be done sooner rather than later.

Atila Turan

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    Atila Turan is a French football player of Turkish descent who currently plays for French club Grenoble in Ligue 2. The 18 year old has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Fiorentina, as well as Arsenal.

    Young, French and relatively unknown he would be a typical Wenger signing. Turan is a left sided player who can operate in both defence and midfield. With his only first team experience to date coming in the French second division he is unlikely to be thrust into Premiership action immediately.

    He could be one for the future and has all the hallmarks of a player who might interest the Arsenal manager. With Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin and Rosicky all comfortable operating on the left wing and Gibbs and Clichy competing for the left back slot it is difficult to see what Turan would bring to the squad in the short term.

    Even if a deal does get done in January the player would probably be allowed to see out his first professional season in France.

Robert Pires

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    ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18:  Former Arsenal player Robert Pires (C) shares a joke with players during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk at the club's complex at London Colney on October 18, 2010 in St
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Robert Pires is training with Arsenal and Wenger has gone on record as saying the former French international could still cut it in the Premiership. It is possible that Wenger might just be talking up the player who was a key member of his 'Invincibles' team but the Arsenal manager says the only reason he hasn't offered Pires a contract is that he already has plenty of attacking options available.

    If this is true, and Wenger might just be trying to put Pires in the shop window, an injury crisis at the club could precipitate a move for the player. Pires has been without a club since the Summer and could sign for a team any time he wanted as the transfer window does not affect the movement of free agents.

    The fact that no-one has snapped him up suggests a general consensus that the 37 year old can no longer perform at the highest level. There is precedent for Wenger to bring back an out of contract former player, it happened with Sol Campbell last season, but it would take an injury crisis of epic proportions for him to consider offering any sort of a second deal to Pires.

Omri Altman

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    Omri Altman is a 16 year old Israeli midfielder who is currently contracted to Maccabi Tel Aviv. He is in the UK looking at prospective new employers and has already had a trial at Liverpool.

    Reports in the media suggest that Arsenal are ready to snatch him from under the noses of their Anfield rivals. Given Wenger's track record of bringing through young players Arsenal are a very attractive destination for any young player and it will be interesting to see whether this story develops.

    If Wenger does decide to sign Altman he will want to do so sooner rather than later so that the club can oversee the player's development during his formative years. 

Ibrahim Afellay

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    EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 31:  Ibrahim Afellay of PSV Eindhoven during the Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and Vitesse held on October 31, 2009 at the Philips Stadion, in Eindhoven, Netherlands. (Photo by Anoek De Groot/EuroFootball/Getty Im
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Ibrahim Afellay's contract expires in the Summer at which point he will become Europe's most sought after free agent. It is possible that PSV Eindhoven might try and cash in on him while they still can by selling him for a token fee, possibly £4 million, during January.

    Afellay is an attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing and has an eye for goal. He made a handful of appearances for Holland at the World Cup and, at 24 years old, is already established as one of the most outstanding players in Holland.

    Wenger would probably like to have him but given that the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are hovering and Arsenal already have plenty of attack minded midfielders it seems highly unlikely that Afellay will end up at the Emirates.

Antonio Cassano

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    MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 24:  Antonio Cassano of UC Sampdoria in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 24, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Antonio Cassano has fallen out with Sampdoria in a big way, to the extent that the club are looking to cancel his contract. Quite why they would want to get rid of such a valuable asset without remuneration is anyone's guess but Cassano will probably be available for a bargain basement fee in January.

    He is arguably the most outstanding talent Italy has to offer but question marks over his temperament remain. Wenger does have a history of successfully rehabilitating footballers after unsatisfactory spells in Italy, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira being obvious examples, but I doubt he would touch Cassano with a bargepole.

    The mercurial strikers attitude to training is notoriously lax and he could disrupt the harmony of the Arsenal dressing room. Arsenal are also not short of attacking options with Bendtner and van Persie both returning from injury.

    The option of signing a player who once cost Roma £20 million for next to nothing is one that would surely appeal to a manager as parsimonious as Wenger. Arsenal fans will have long forgotten Cassano's provocative celebration after scoring for Roma at Highbury in 2003 but even so this particular move is unlikely to ever materialize.

In Conclusion...

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    Would I put money on any one of these players signing for Arsenal in January? Absolutely not.

    It is almost impossible to predict the players Wenger will sign and no-one had heard of the likes of Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue, Gael Clichy or Manuel Almunia until they were presented as Arsenal players.

    What is going through Wenger's head in relation to the goalkeeping situation is anyone's guess. He has a lot of faith in Fabianski and the Polish shot stopper is slowly starting to come good so it is possible Arsenal won't seek out a replacement.

    The defensive situation is also an interesting one. Vermaelen's injury leaves Arsenal short at centre back but if Wenger does dip into the transfer market he will be end up with at least one defender too many when Vermaelen returns.

    I suspect Wenger is happy with the players he currently has at his disposal and I don't anticipate any headline making moves but it is possible that one big name player could follow in the footsteps of Reyes and Arshavin by making a January move to Arsenal.