English Premier League football has undertaken a two-week hiatus to enable the hustle and bustle of international football to prosper. It is an adequately timed break for many teams, but for others, it is a halt to their momentum.
This is certainly the case for Arsenal. The North London giants have amassed four consecutive and impressive Premier League victories and nine wins out of eleven in all competitions to diminish their horrific start to 2011-2012. However—despite their form—it is clear that Arsene Wenger is still not completely content with his squad.
Their early-season performances cannot be forgotten, despite the Gunners lacking key presences through various suspensions, injuries and the influx of deadline-day signings. The squad has adapted strongly in recent weeks, but defensively, there are still concerns that the midfield still lacks a genuine flair and efficiency. However, Wales captain Aaron Ramsey is quickly destroying that notion.
Nonetheless, Arsene Wenger is expected to implement more changes come January. The Frenchman has a transfer budget of £50 million, whilst the lingering concerns of players with precarious contracts—furthered by others simply not performing—ensures a need for transfers.
Bleacher Report, as always, delivers all the news and establishes five deals Arsene Wenger may make in January.
Spanish playmaker Esteban Granero has become a strong target for Arsene Wenger in recent months, with the Frenchman expressing his admiration for the 24-year-old. Wenger's midfield is set to receive reinforcements in January due to injury concerns, and Granero emerges as a cheap and effective candidate.
The Real Madrid midfielder has impressed in a handful of opportunities at the Bernabeu, but is still considered a fringe player under Jose Mourinho. Last season, the Spaniard amassed 32 appearances for Madrid, but has become out of favour in 2011-2012.
The Daily Mail has reported that Wenger is eager to capture Granero on a £6 million deal.
After a stellar start to his Arsenal career last season—10 goals in the first half of the campaign—striker Marouane Chamakh has had his form continue to diminish. The factors of Robin van Persie's rich form—31 goals in 35 appearances since January—and lacking both confidence and opportunities have not aided the Moroccan.
The 27-year-old is showing no signs of improving, and with Captain van Persie immense for the Gunners and South Korean captain Chu Young-Park emerging as a clinical forward, Chamakh appears out of place at the Emirates.
Spanish giants Seville are rumoured to be preparing a £7 million deal for the striker, according to Fans FC.
With Marouane Chamakh rumoured to be nearing an exit and Robin van Persie possessing lingering contract woes, Wenger is eyeing potential strikers. With Fiorentina star Stevan Jovetic extending his contract with the Italian outfit, German striker Lukas Podolski is rumoured to be the main forward target for Wenger.
The Frenchman has long targeted the 26-year-old, and with Podolski's versatility and work rate, the Germany international appears a promising target for the Gunners. Last season, Podolski managed 14 goals in 34 appearances for FC Köln in the German Bundesliga.
International Business Times has reported Wenger is prepared to make a £20 million bid.
The veteran Spanish keeper has fallen largely out of favour at the Emirates, with Poland international Wojciech Szczesny emerging as one of the best shot-blockers in the Premier League and Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone proving strong deputies.
The 34-year-old has just returned from an impressive loan spell with Championship giants West Ham, and despite some composed performances, Almunia's time at Arsenal really has passed and Wenger is certain to offload the keeper in January.
The Daily Mail has reported that Arsene Wenger is prepared to smash Arsenal's record-transfer fee and offer £25 million for highly regarded Borussia Dortmund teenager Mario Götze. The 19-year-old is considered one of the best young playmakers in Europe and impressed when Dortmund encountered Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League for Group F.
Last season, Götze amassed 41 appearances, eight goals and 12 assists as he enforced his presence on world football. A number of clubs are chasing the midfielder, including Manchester United and Real Madrid; however, Wenger is hugely impressed with the German international and is prepared to go all out in January.