Sakho, Almunia, Chamberlain, Sunu: Analyzing Arsenal's Potential Last-Day Buys

Callum D'SouzaSenior Writer IJanuary 31, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal gestures during the Carling Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Arsenal and Ipswich Town at Emirates Stadium on January 25, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The January Transfer Window will close shut in a diminishing number of hours, signifying the termination of mass rumours and excitement.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has continued his monotonous ways by refusing to splurge and attempt to secure the services of quality players.

It's not as though Wenger was in desperate need of new blood.

The Gunners have enjoyed a stellar few months that has seen the North London giants go unbeaten in the Premier League in seven encounters. Furthermore, Wenger's men await a Carling Cup final in February, alongside the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match with Spanish giants Barcelona.

Arsenal's form has elevated their presence on the EPL table to second, just five points back of leaders Manchester United. However, injuries to key defenders forced Wenger to ponder whether a January buy was necessary.

Since August, the Gunners have been without defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen due to a persistent ankle injury, ensuring only three fit centre halves.

Imposing Swiss Johan Djourou only recent returned to peak fitness whilst a recent injury to Sebastien Squillaci has seen Laurent Koscielny as the only fully fit central defender.

Wenger's hint at a defensive signing has caused heavy speculation alongside other rumours of players departing as well as youngsters coming in.

Let's analyze potential last-minute buys Wenger may attempt to achieve.

Granted, it seems unlikely, but recent injuries could see a shock signing join the Emirates.

Mamadou Sakho: Paris Saint-Germain

Rumour had it that Wenger was lining up a £12 million bid for French defender Mamadou Sakho.

Regarded as one of the best young defenders, the 20-year-old has been an ever-present force in the PSG starting XI since the age of 17, acquiring over 100 appearances for the French side.

Wenger has always been an admirer of the French international and many touted Sakho as a future Arsenal defender. Blessed with great strength and speed, the French international is an ideal Wenger defender.

At 6'2", Sakho boasts an imposing presence as well as great control and versatility.

With contract negotiations postponed between Sakho and PSG, Wenger may look to sign the French centre half for next season or pounce quickly, acquiring Sakho for the rest of this campaign.

Chance of occurring: 40%

Manuel Almunia: Arsenal

The Spanish goalkeeper has been touted with an Arsenal exit all season.

After a torrid beginning to 2010/2011, an elbow injury sustained in September has kept the Spaniard absent for almost four months.

Almunia made his return in Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup triumph over Huddersfield on Sunday, boasting a solid performance. However, Wojciech Szczensy and Lukasz Fabianski have both overtaken the 33-year-old in the goalkeeping ranks at the Emirates and with Vito Mannone impressing on loan with Championship side Hull City, Almunia is soon to be sold.

A number of La Liga clubs are eager to acquire the former Celtico Vigo shot stopper, but whether Wenger will opt to sell Almunia on deadline day or in the summer remains to be seen.

Chance of occurring: 35%

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Southampton

The biggest Arsenal rumour of January. The highly regarded 17-year-old, who is a product of the renowned Southampton academy, is being chased by Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and the Gunners.

Reports suggest Arsenal are the front-runners in securing the young gun's signature, with a £5 million deal close to materializing.

Touted as the next Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain is blessed with great speed, strength and technical ability. However, Southampton are said to be hoping to receive £10 million for their young dynamo.

However, Wenger has been skeptical to splurge on the youngster and if Southhampton refuse an offer Wenger is likely to put forward, then there is every chance Chamberlain won't sign.

Chance of occurring: 50%

Gilles Sunu: Arsenal

The highly rated striker who has been a force for the Arsenal reserve and youth squads has struggled with injury, unable to make an impact on the first team.

The 19-year-old, who made is debut last season for the Gunners, enjoyed a strong loan spell last season with Derby.

A strong, powerful striker, Sunu was rumoured to be wanted by a number of clubs on loan. Now, it has emerged that the French sharp shooter is close to agreeing to a loan deal with French giants Lorient FC.

Lorient currently have another boom youngster on loan in Francis Coquelin and if Sunu is to become an Arsenal gem, a successful loan spell will be tremendously beneficial.

Chance of occurring: 80%


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