Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 11 Superstars Linked to the Gunners
Wales captain Aaron Ramsey scored with what could be considered the last kick of the match to ensure a 1-0 victory to Arsenal over French giants Olympique de Marseille in the UEFA Champions League Group F. It signified successive victories for the struggling Gunners, who overcame Sunderland in the English Premier League last weekend, and finally Arsene Wenger's men appear to be regaining their confidence and fluidity.
However, Arsene Wenger has still stated his desire to implement reinforcements come January, despite the Frenchman's large influx of presences on deadline day. There is no denying the North London giants have taken a significant step back in quality from last season following the departures of high calibre playmakers Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.
Nonetheless the Gunners have a sufficient youth base, and if several key presences extend their precarious contracts with Arsenal, it is certain Wenger's squad will return to their former days. However a large array of players are continually being linked with moves to the Emirates, and as always BleacherReport keeps readers up to date.
11. Marvin Martin-Sochaux
The Frenchman was considered one of the most effective replacements for former captain Cesc Fabregas, who departed to Barcelona in the summer, however, a move failed to sufficiently materialize. Nevertheless Crunchsports has reported Wenger is eager to secure a January move for the 23-year-old.
A small yet incisive and clinical playmaker, the Frenchman has thrived in the French Ligue One for a number of seasons now, amassing over 120 appearances for Sochaux and recently becoming a France international.
Last season Martin boasted 41 appearances, four goals an a superb 17 assists during the European campaign and was considered one of the best midfielders in France, particularly impression with his composure, vision and technique.
10. Didier Drogba-Chelsea
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One of the most renowned and respected, alongside lethal, strikers in World Football has been linked with a shock move to the Emirates according to Football-Talk. Chelsea forward Didier Drogba has been linked with a number of clubs, including Arsenal, following the Ivorian's contract at Stamford Bridge expiring next summer.
Considered one of the best forwards to ever play in the English Premier League and Europe, the 33-year-old has amassed an outstanding 145 goals in 312 appearances for the Blues, since joining in 2004. Drogba has achieved the English Premier League three times, the Football League Cup, the FA Cup alongside the Premier League Golden Boot and twice appearing in the PFA Team of the Year, whilst at the Bridge.
Furthermore the Ivory Coast captain has a superb record against the Gunners, with 13 goals in his last 12 appearances against Arsene Wenger's side. Despite his age, the Ivorian could arrive cheaply at the Emirates and instill lacking physicality, efficiency, leadership and a winning mentality to the Gunners.
However, several reports have dismissed the rumours.
9. Hulk-FC Porto
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The heroically named forward has been linked with the Gunners on numerous occasions alongside a host of other big name clubs around Europe. The 25-year-old has become one of the most chased and efficient strikers in World Football following a stellar display with Portuguese champions FC Porto.
Last season as Porto secured their domestic league and the UEFA Cup, Hulk boasted 53 appearances, 36 goals and 21 assists. This season the Brazilian has managed 10 appearances, four goals and six assists.
Fast, strong, clinical and balanced, the former Tokyo Verdy dynamo reportedly has a £100 million buyout clause in his Porto contract which does enforce a cloud over any potential Arsenal move.
8. Riccardo Montolivo-Fiorentina
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Sabotage Times has reported that Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is being chased by both AC Milan and Arsenal for a January move. The 26-year-old, who has become one of the best playmakers in the Italian Serie A, possesses an expiring contract at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and Fiorentina may be forced to sell their dynamo in January.
An intelligent, creative and versatile midfielder, Montolivo has drawn great comparison to Italian star Andre Pirlo. Arsene Wenger is a great admirer of the Italy international, who will come relatively cheap due to his transfer situation. With a lacking flair and efficiency in the Arsenal midfield alongside key players Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta entering their 30s, Riccardo Montolivo looms a stellar prospect.
7. Daniel Parejo-Valencia
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The Daily Mirror announced that Arsene Wenger is preparing a £7 million January bid for Valencia playmaker Daniel Parejo. The 22-year-old, a graduate of Real Madrid's renowned youth academy, had thrived with La Liga outfit Getafe GF, amassing 80 appearances, 10 goals and 11 assists over two seasons, and was signed by giants Valencia in the recent summer.
However, Wenger is eager to secure the Spaniard, who has struggled to make an impact at the Mestalla. A smart, skillful and energetic midfielder, many believe Parejo shares similar traits to Cesc Fabregas and has the ability to fill the void left by the Spaniard.
Parejo was part of the Spanish U-21 side that won the European Championships in the recent summer.
6. Saloman Kalou-Chelsea
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First Post reported that Arsenal are eager to sign Chelsea dynamo Saloman Kalou, who is yet to reach an agreement with the Blues over a contract extension. The Ivorian has attracted attention from a number of clubs across Europe, including Tottenham and Liverpool, however, Wenger is a big fan of the 26-year-old and desires to introduce added attacking spark to the Gunners.
The Ivory Coast international has become an integral part of the Chelsea squad since joining in 2006 from Dutch giants Feyenoord. Kalou possesses over 225 appearances for the London giants alongside 55 goals. A quick, tenacious and energetic attacking force, Kalou would be welcomed at the Emirates.
5. Yoann Gourcuff-Lyon
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GiveMeFootball reported that Arsene Wenger is hoping to achieve a £20 million purchase of Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff in January. The Frenchman has long been touted with a move to the Emirates due to his incisive, quick style of play that predominantly thrives at the Gunners. Often viewed as one of the best replacements for Cesc Fabregas, Wenger reportedly was desperate to sign Gourcuff in the summer before an injury ruined the potential deal.
The 25-year-old is an emphatic, devastating midfielder with blistering pace and a sublime passing range, a regular in the national France team, Gourcuff is a class act, and many Arsenal fans would adore to see the midfielder at the Emirates.
4. Rafael Van Der Vaart-Tottenham
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CrunchSports reported that Arsenal are weighing up a January move for Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart, believed to be in the region of £16 million. The Dutchman is an admirer of the Gunners and currently has rumours circulating that there is anger between the midfielder and Spurs' manager Harry Redknapp, which fuels the rumour.
However, due to the intense rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham, it ensures deals are unlikely to occur. The 28-year-old enjoyed a stellar debut season in the English Premier League, boasting 36 appearances and 15 goals. The Netherland's international has also netted four times against the Gunners.
A quality, creative midfielder who is also extremely versatile, many believe the Dutchman would not be out of place at the Emirates.
3. Yann M'Vila-Rennes
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CrunchSport reported that Wenger could reignite his interest in Rennes enforcer Yann M'Vila during the January Transfer Window. The Frenchman was greatly linked with a move to Arsenal during the summer but eventually remained with Rennes despite interest also from Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
The 21-year-old emerged onto the European scene in 2009 and since amassed 95 appearances for Les Rouges et Noirs alongside becoming one of the most effective and composed defensive midfielders in France. An imposing, powerful presence, Arsenal fans have expressed their desire for Wenger to secure the French international.
2. Eden Hazard-OSC Lille
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CrunchSports has also announced Eden Hazard is atop Arsene Wenger's January Transfer List. The OSC Lille dynamo is credited as the best young winger in World Football, and the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester United are all chasing the 21-year-old.
Upon making his debut as a 16-year-old for the Mastiffs', the Belgian has accumulated 157 appearances for OSC Lille, 33 goals, 27 assists and 24 appearances for Belgium, the Ligue 1 Trophy, the Coupe de France, the UNFP Ligue 1 Player of the Year, the UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year on two occasions, and selections in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season.
Hazard is brutally quick and balanced with an array of tricks and a fierce shot, some have even predicted the Belgian international can achieve higher than Lionel Messi. OSC Lille value their winger at close to £40 million.
1. Kaka-Real Madrid
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A Different League reported that Wenger is keen to secure a January move for Real Madrid star Kaka. The Brazilian, who was once considered the world's best playmaker, was linked with a loan move to Arsenal in the summer but has since continued under Jose Mourinho.
However the 29-year-old has struggled for consistent plaiyng time at Real Madrid and could be in line for a departure come the winter. A natural leader blessed with skill, power, strength, speed and creativity, the Gunners' faithful would be estatic to see Kaka in the Red and White.