Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 8 Strikers Arsene Wenger's Gunning for in January
January is just over a month away and managers around the globe are preparing bids and analysing talents as they aim to add reinforcements and calibre to their squads during a harsh and frequent winter. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a man expected to be very busy during the New Year as he aims to utilize his £50 million transfer budget.
It is no secret the Frenchman is targeting a striker despite the fact captain Robin van Persie has amassed 36 goals in 2011. However, imposing Moroccan Marouane Chamakh is expected to depart since his form has completely diminished in the last 12 months at an alarming rate whilst van Persie is always a fragile prospect due to his potential injury woes.
Wenger has a large budget that can attract high-octane talent, but it comes down to whether or not the Frenchman is willing to spend big or rather look to youth. None the less, it is set to be an active and exciting January for Arsenal fans as their manager searches for reinforcements.
Bleacher Report keeps readers up to date and establishes the eight strikers Wenger is targeting.
8. Leandro Damiao: Internacional
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The 22-year-old has become of the most prolific and devastating strikers in Brazil, recording 37 goals in 45 appearances in his recent campaign with Internacional. This included 17 goals in 13 appearances in the Campeonato Gaúcho which Internacional won.
Damiao's form has resulted in debut for Brazil in 2011 alongside comparisons to Alexandre Pato and an array of other Brazilian legends.
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.
7. Karim Benzema: Real Madrid CF
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The 23-year-old has long been touted with a move to the Gunners and it appeared a transfer had materialized during the recent summer, but in the end, little arose. Benzema is a strong, efficient striker whose undeniable success with Olympique Lyon, 66 goals in 150 appearances, in the French Lique One introduced the Frenchman to world football enthusiasts.
Currently with Spanish giants Real Madrid, where last season Benzema amassed 26 goals in 48 appearances, the France international will surely be on Wenger's radar. Wenger currently has in-form striker Robin van Persie under a contract cloud, whilst Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh has endured months out of form and looks destined for an exit.
This could see a deal arise in January as Real Madrid boast a compacted forward line, however it is unlikely Jose Mourinho will desire less than £15 million.
6. M'Baye Niang: Caen
The 16-year-old has been described as the best teenager French outfit Caen has ever seen. The giant striker joined as a 13-year-old and after excelling with youth and reserve sides, made his first-team debut last season.
Niang has since has 16 appearances and four goals for the Ligue 1 outfit and has become an integral part of Caen's first team. A powerful and strong striker who is clever and shows glistening technique and aerial dominance, Niang has caught the eye of a number of clubs. Givemefootball reported that Arsene Wenger is very interested.
5. Jefferson Farfan: Schalke 04
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The 27-year-old is a quick and powerful forward who has impressed with the Royal Blues. Last season, Farfan amassed 44 appearances and 10 goals as Schalke achieved the DFB Pokal.
The Peru international became a known name in European football with PSV Eindhoven where Farfan recorded 163 appearances and 71 goals along with four Dutch Eredivisie titles. Farfan possesses the speed and strength to thrive in the Premier League and the former Alianza Lima striker can provide energy and international experience to the Arsenal roster.
Farfan has been linked in a swap deal, via Metro, with Russian dynamo Andrei Arshavin, which Wenger may look to enforce come the winter.
4. Lukas Podolski: FC Koln
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The German international has become a prominent target for Arsene Wenger and rumours are beginning to intensify, suggesting Wenger is preparing a £20 million bid. Podolski has been in impressive form for Bundesliga outfit FC Koln amassing 14 goals in 32 appearances last season before nine in 12 during 2011/2012.
A powerful and quick striker, the 26-year-old has long been touted to thrive in the English Premier League and Wenger has always remained a fan of the striker. However, whether the Frenchman is willing to pay such a large fee remains to be seen.
3. Salomon Kalou: Chelsea
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The Chelsea dynamo Salomon Kalou 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.
2. Marco Reus: Borussia Mönchengladbach
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 an outstanding 11 goals in 11 appearances in 2011/2012, including a hat trick in Mönchengladbach's most recent game. This follows 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.
1. Robin Van Persie
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The Arsenal captain is, as of now, carrying the Gunners to a potential top-four finish. The Dutchman is a goal-scoring machine at the moment and can easily be considered the in-form striker of world football. However, there remains one problem—the 28-year-old boasts a contract expiring in the summer of 2013 and Wenger does not want to risk a similar fate that occurred with Samir Nasri.
The main transfer target for Wenger has to be securing a long-term contract for Robin van Persie. The likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid are both interested in the Dutch star and have the funds to offer him a monumental contract, however Wenger has sufficient funds to largely increase his captain's wage and must do so.