Arsenal FC: Top 10 Players Under 23 Arsene Wenger Will Target in January

Callum D'SouzaSenior Writer INovember 18, 2011

Arsenal FC: Top 10 Players Under 23 Arsene Wenger Will Target in January

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    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has a penchant for acquiring and developing young talent.

    The Frenchman's resume includes the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Freddie Ljungberg, Alexandre Song, Robin van Persie and an array more of players who arrived in North London as young guns, considerably cheaply, and became world football superstars.

    Naturally as January approaches and the hustle and bustle of the Winter transfer window commences, highly touted youngsters are being linked with moves to the Emirates.

    The Arsenal manager has expressed his desire to spend in January, despite the late influx of deadline day signings in August.

    With a £50 million transfer budget, Arsenal fans can expect deals to materialize.

    As always, the young talent flooding Europe will be the Frenchman's ideal targets, and there is no secret Wenger has his eye on some of the best youngsters in world football at the moment.

    Furthermore, a number of older and experienced members of his roster, including Andrey Arshavin, Manuel Almunia, Sebastien Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh are being touted with moves elsewhere.

    But just who will Arsene Wenger target?

    Bleacher Report aims to keep readers up to date and informed of world football proceedings and have therefore constructed the top 10 under-23-year-old's Arsene Wenger will target in January.

10. Jack Butland: Birmingham City

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    Arsene Wenger is not exactly in desperate need of a goalkeeper, like recent seasons have suggested.

    Since the emergence and development of Polish shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny, Arsenal have single-handedly lost their reputation as a big-name club lacking a big-name keeper, and now boast one of the strongest keepers in England.

    Furthermore, Wenger possesses experienced and impressive Poland international Lukasz Fabianski as his deputy, with youngster Vito Mannone and veteran Manuel Almunia contesting for the third-choice role.

    However, Mannone is expected to complete a loan deal with a League One side in January, whilst Almunia looks set to depart in January. Fabianski is unlikely to stay, either, with Szczesny's form.

    This has ensured Arsene Wenger is keeping a close watch on Birmingham keeper Jack Butland. The 18-year-old, who is currently impressing on loan with League Two outfit Cheltenham Town, is yet to appear for Birmingham City professionally, but is considered one of the best teenage keepers in England.

    A number of clubs are chasing the England U-21 star and the Gunners' have dispatched their chief scout, Steve Rowley, and goalkeeping coach Gary Peyton to watch Butland on his U-21 duties this week.

    Wenger is eager to make a £1 million bid.

9. Marco Reus: Borussia Mönchengladbach

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    The German attacking midfielder, who can also operate as an out-and-out striker, has enjoyed blistering form this season, which has attracted large attention from a number of big-name clubs in the Premier League.

    Arsene Wenger has become particularly impressed with the 22-year-old, who boasts eight goals in 10 appearances in 2011/2012, following 37 appearances and 12 goals last campaign.

    An evasive and dynamic playmaker, Reus possesses impressive composure and power as a playmaker and has shown an emphatically clinical nature in his game.

    Wenger is rumoured to be willing to make a £15 million bid for the German international.

8. Marvin Martin: Sochaux

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    The 23-year-old has developed into one of the best playmakers in the French Ligue 1, prompting mass speculation in the past summer that a move to the Emirates would materialize.

    Martin was viewed by Wenger as one of the most effective replacements for Cesc Fabregas.

    A dynamic, balanced midfielder whose creativity would thrive at the Emirates, he has amassed 44 appearances, four goals and 17 assists last season.

    Wenger is eager to make a £14 million move for Martin.

7. Jeremy Balmy: Le Havre

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    The 17-year-old is considered one of the best young talents in France and has attracted attention from Tottenham and Valencia, whilst Arsene Wenger is also hugely interested in the teenager.

    An intelligent and powerful midfielder who possesses silky skills, Balmy is eager for a move to England.

    However, it is likely Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre will not allow the playmaker to depart until the Summer, but Arsenal are considered the front-runners in the race.

6. Andre Ayew: Olympique De Marseille

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    The Ghanian winger has long been touted with a move to the Emirates, with Arsenal scouts watching the 22-year-old over the years.

    Andre Ayew is quick, energetic forward who in recent years has developed into one of the quickest attackers in the French Ligue 1.

    Last season Ayew amassed 51 appearances and 13 goals for Marseille and recently impressed against the Gunners in the UEFA Champions League Group F. Wenger has long been a fan of the dynamo, who was close to joining in the Summer.

    Ayew can operate all across the front line and in the midfield, and it is believed Wenger is willing to lodge a £14 million bid.

5. Leandro Damiao: Internacional

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    The 22-year-old is one of the most prolific and devastating strikers in Brazil, recording 37 goals in 45 appearances in his recent campaign with Internacional.

    An imposing, composed striker who possesses a fierce shot, Damiao is touted for big things in Europe.

    Tottenham and Arsenal are said to be the front-runners for the Brazil international's signature, with Internacional desiring around £16 million for their consistent striker.

4. Moussa Sissoko: Toulouse FC

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    The 22-year-old has thrived in the French Ligue 1 for a number of seasons now, amassing over 150 appearances in four seasons, and at such a tender age, has become a composed, mature midfield force.

    Sissoko is blessed with a devastating combination of speed and strength alongside an imposing figure. The Frenchman is equally powerful from a defensive and attacking midfield point of view and has all the traits to become a typical Arsene Wenger signing.

    The Toulouse playmaker has drawn serious comparisons to former Arsenal captain and legend Patrick Vieira, a player Wenger has failed to replace since 2005, coinciding with Arsenal's six-season trophy drought.

    Sissoko is a combative figure in the midfield, but has routinely impressed with his playmaking abilities, thus enabling the French international to become increasingly versatile as a midfielder.

    While currently linked with Inter Milan, Liverpool, Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester United, Arsene Wenger has a penchant for young Frenchmen and possesses great admiration for Moussa Sissoko.

    Furthermore, it could cost as little as £11 million.

3. Yann M'Vila: Stade Rennes

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    After becoming one of the strongest and most effective deep midfielders in France, the 21-year-old has developed into a target Arsene Wenger is desperate to acquire.

    In the previous two seasons, M'Vila has amassed 80 appearances for Rennes, during which he has shown immense maturity and strength as a midfielder. A summer move was seriously considered, but a deal failed to materialize.

    However, Wenger is eager to secure the France international and is prepared to pay in excess of £15 million if necessary. M'Vila, however, has attracted interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid.

2 .Eden Hazard: Lille OSC

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    The Belgium dynamo is currently the most chased prospect in world football after becoming one of the best wingers in Europe with French giants Lille OSC.

    Hazard made his debut for the Mastiffs as a 17-year-old in 2008 and has since recorded 161 appearances and 33 goals.

    Last season as Lille achieved their first French title in 57 years and the Coupe de France, the 21-year-old managed 52 appearances, 12 goals and 10 assists.

    Wenger has long chased the young winger, who is wanted by Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City to name a few.

    The French champions are willing to let their dynamo depart for excess £30 million, and it is rumoured Wenger is willing to pay.

1. Mario Gotze: Borussia Dortmund

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    The 19-year-old is considered the best young playmaker in the German Bundesliga, and possibly Europe. Gotze enjoyed a stellar breakthrough season last campaign, amassing 43 appearances, eight goals and 12 assists.

    A number of clubs, including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Manchester City, are chasing the dynamo, with Wenger a huge admirer of the German international.

    The Arsenal manager was given a taste first hand when the Gunners' encountered Dortmund in a UEFA Champions League Group F match in September, with the teenager enjoying a superb performance.

    Dortmund are believed to wish for around in excess of £25 million for their young star and with Arsene Wenger boast strong funds this season and impressive reports from scouts, the Frenchman is eager to target Gotze.

    A smart, incisive midfielder who can play on the wings or as a central midfielder and second striker, the German international has a blossoming future and a wide array of attacking talent.