Arsenal January Prospects: 8 Last-Minute Transfers Arsene Wenger May Do
There are a mere nine days left in the January Transfer Window and as expected for Arsenal, there have been mass amounts of rumours but actually little materializing.
Manager Arsene Wenger had stated earlier in the season that he would neither buy nor sell anyone in January. The Frenchman believed he boasted the ideal squad that had sufficient depth and quality to conquer the Gunners' notorious five-year trophy drought.
However, Wenger has since retracted those comments due to injury woes, particularly in the defensive department.
Since August, Arsenal have been without defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen due to a persistent ankle injury, prompting Wenger to have only three fit, experienced defenders.
Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscienly both arrived in the Summer and thus are experiencing their first campaign in the English Premier League.
Also, imposing Swiss Johan Djourou was absent with a severe knee injury for the whole of last season bar the final EPL game, which ensures Wenger is skeptical and tentative to use the 23-year-old on a consistent basis.
Squillaci recently sustained a hamstring injury and is expected to return in February, whilst highly touted youngster Havard Nordtveit has departed the Emirates to Borussia Monchengladbach.
This has forced Wenger to admit he may need to secure the services of an experienced defender to reinstate presence into the Arsenal back four.
There is also the question of selling. There has been more speculation than in recent seasons, and for once, it does not revolve around captain Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona. A number of players have been linked away from North London, which raises question over just what Wenger may do.
Here are 10 transfers Arsene Wenger may do in the remaining nine days of the January Transfer Window.
8. Buying Sol Campbell From Newcastle
Many rumours suggested Sol Campbell could be set for an incredible third stint at the Emirates, with Wenger set to target his former centre half as Newcastle United is failing to offer the consistent playing time Campbell aspires to boast.
The 36-year-old returned to Arsenal in January last season on a free transfer after spending five years with the Gunners between 2001-2006.
Campbell would cost little and would help instill depth and experience while Wenger awaits the return of Squillaci and Vermaelen.
Furthermore, the Englishman is a natural leader who will help aid the younger defenders and lead a youthful squad.
However, West Ham are rumoured to be keen on the former English international, which could see Campbell move to the other side of London.
7. Extending Henri Lansbury's Loan Spell at Norwich City
Arsene Wenger regards highly promising youngster Henriy Lansbury as a future Arsenal midfielder. In recent seasons, Lansbury has diligently progressed through the renowned Arsenal academy, alongside experiencing stellar loan spells with Watford and Scunthorpe United.
This season, the young gun was rewarded with a start, in which the 20-year-old scored the opening goal, against Tottenham in the Carling Cup back in September.
However, with a number of quality players still ahead of Lansbury in the Arsenal midfield ranks, Wenger opted to grant the English youngster some time in the English Championship to gain valuable experience.
In November, Lansbury was sent on loan to Norwich City, where he has thrived, showing great maturity and skill as a midfielder and winger.
The loan spell is due to expire in the coming days, and the Canaries are eager to extend Lansbury's time in the Championship. However, it is up to Wenger.
6. Loaning Carlos Vela To Bolton
It's been a struggling couple of seasons for Carlos Vela. After bursting onto the Arsenal scene with a scintillating hat trick against Sheffield United in 2008, it appeared Wenger had unearthed another young gem.
However, Wenger has failed to give the Mexican striker a consistent basis of first-team playing time, which has prompted frustration from the 21-year-old.
Blessed with impressive speed and skill, Vela is capable of making something out of nothing as well as boasting a sublime shot and composure near the net.
However, only 13 appearances this season, 10 of which are off the bench means the Mexican international must go on loan to enhance his experience and play on a consistent basis.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle has shown a tremendous interest in acquiring Vela, but Wenger still appears skeptical. Last season, Jack Wilshere, who has been phenomenal this season for Arsenal, had a three-month loan spell with Bolton and gained superb experience, maturing and growing as a player.
Bolton would be an ideal place for Vela to experience a loan spell and chances are it will be likely to happen.
5. Selling Manuel Almunia
Since being promoted to the first-choice keeper at Arsenal after the demise of Jens Lehman, Manuel Almunia has never looked settled or up to the challenge.
It's not that the Spaniard is a bad keeper. Almunia is just not capable of being the No. 1 keeper at a club like Arsenal.
Occasionally showing moments of brilliance and superb reflexes, Almunia's Arsenal career has been tainted and shrouded with inconsistency, vital errors and poor decision making. After a poor 2009/2010, it looked certain Wenger would secure the services of a quality keeper.
Despite mass rumours, nothing materialized, and Almunia continued at the front of the helm. However, a elbow injury sustained in September has kept the former Celtico Vigo shot stopper out of action for almost four months now.
In Almunia's absence, deputy Lukasz Fabianski has emerged as a superb keeper, proving his worth after a torrid opening few years at the Emirates.
Highly rated youngster Wojciech Szczensy has also been elevated to the No. 2 role, whilst Italian keeeper Vito Mannone is impressing greatly on loan with Hull City.
It's unlikely Manuel Almunia will play another match in the red and white, and one can only hope Wenger ends the Spaniard misery.
4. Loaning Out Aaron Ramsey
When Aaron Ramsey suffered his horrific leg break in February 2010 after a reckless challenge from Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross, few expected the Welshman to return to the quality and form the youngster showed whilst establishing himself into the Arsenal midfield.
After a painful nine months, the 20 year old star returned to the Arsenal reserves and was then loaned to Championship side Nottingham Forest in order to regain his speed, touch and passing ability, as well as regaining experience.
The Welsh international showed promising signs in the Championship before returning in January. Ramsey is still lacking the form and confidence that was evident in the earlier stages of last season, and Wenger has been tentative to utilize the youngster.
Rumours have it that Wenger may loan out Ramsey one more time in order to properly enhance a number of attacking attributes. Premiership side Blackpool are said to be keen to add the Welsh sensation to their roster; however, Wenger may want to keep the him at the Emirates.
3. Buying Matthew Upson From West Ham
The former Arsenal centre half has always been one of Wenger's regrets. The Frenchman offloaded the Englishman during the glory days in 2003 to Birmingham City and since then, as expected, Upson has become a strong and reliable defender.
There has been strong rumour, easily the most realistic of January, that Wenger is eager to make a move for Upson. Currently, he is one of the bright points in a struggling West Ham squad.
Signing Upson would install aggression and power into the Arsenal central defence and help establish added leadership and depth.
With West Ham favourites for relegation this season, Arsenal could offer the 31-year-old a contract too hard to refuse, as well as a healthy sum for Avram Grant.
2. Selling Andrei Arshavin
It has not been a strong season for Andrei Arshavin. The Russian dynamo has looked off the pace in the Premier League alongside some lacklustre, lazy performances. No longer does the diminutive winger possess lethal speed and skill to evade defenders with ease.
Arshavin's confidence is clearly absent, as fans have become frustrated at the Russian's lazy approach.
The 29-year-old's poor form has prompted rumours that Wenger is eager to offload Arshavin. Juventus, along with a host of other clubs, are interested in acquiring the Russian international.
With Arsenal boasting a number of touted youngsters emerging through the ranks, hoping to play in Arshavin's position, Wenger may opt to keep Carlos Vela and sell Andrei Arshavin. Only time will tell.
The likeliest option is nothing will materialize for Wenger as the Frenchman rarely pursues signatures despite his immediate need for a defender.
The likelihood is the French tactician will have Sebastien Squillaci returning in no more than a week, whilst Vermaelen should be returning in February.
Whether Arsenal need reinforcements to succeed in Europe and the Premier League remains to be seen, but with the form of Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and a number of other players, Arsenal may just win a trophy.