Arsenal FC Transfer Rumors: 10 Bold Predictions for Arsene Wenger in January
January will arrive in just over a month, bringing snow, harsh conditions, the chance that matches will be cancelled and above all the January transfer window across Europe. It's an always exciting month of speculation and rumours, which do not quite have the endurance and repetitiveness of the summer.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to be kept busy during the winter as not only does the Frenchman aim to ensure his side continues their impressive run of form, but the Gunners also look to regain their place in the Premier League's renowned top four.
Wenger is eager to implement reinforcements into his squad and with an enhanced £50 million budget.
But with the Arsenal manager, it is never simple when it comes to the transfer window, and fans have often been left frustrated or bemused by the Frenchman's decisions.
However, there are a number of factors that are set to heavily influence Wenger in the January transfer window, which will force both sales and departures.
But just what will Arsene Wenger do?
Bleacher Report establishes 10 predictions for Arsenal during the January transfer window.
10. Ryo Miyaichi Will Be Loaned
Arsene Wenger currently has an array of very impressive teenagers at his disposal, but the depth of his current first team is hindering their development slightly.
One teenager who fans are eager to see perform is Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi, whose injury woes have restricted the 18-year-old during 2011/2012.
The young gun was signed in January 2011 after becoming one of the best teenagers in Japan during their high school league.
Miyaichi was immediately loaned to Dutch giants Feyenoord for the remainder of 2010/2011, where he thrived. The Japanese U-19 star amassed 12 appearances, three goals and five assists in the Eredivisie and impressed with his speed and skill.
He drew comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and was branded Ryodinho and the Japanese Messi.
Furthermore, the teenager enjoyed a promising preseason tour with the Gunners, but has since endured numerous minor injuries despite impressive efforts for the reserves and appearances in the Carling Cup for the Arsenal first team.
The 18-year-old is expected to experience a loan spell in either the Premier League, Championship or return to the Eredivisie for the remainder of the season.
9. Manuel Almunia Will Be Sold
For the first time in over half a decade, Arsene Wenger is enduring a positive conundrum with his goalkeepers. After seasons of scrutiny and criticism for the lack of quality between the posts, the Frenchman now has four capable keepers vying for the No. 1 jersey.
Polish shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny has of course glued down the role since the beginning of the year and the 21-year-old has been in immense form since the 2011/2012 began.
Deputy Lukasz Fabianski is the credible deputy who, if not for a season-ending shoulder injury last season, could still be the current Arsenal first-choice keeper.
Veteran Manuel Almunia, who from 2008 to early last season was considered the Gunners' prominent keeper, despite huge criticism and inconsistency, has dropped well down the pecking order and is basically awaiting for January to arrive in order to secure a departure.
The Spaniard earlier impressed on loan with Championship side West Ham this season but is unlikely to ever add to his impressive 173 appearances for the Gunners.
8. Vito Mannone Will Be Loaned
Arsenal's third-choice shot stopper, Vito Mannone, has long been considered a talented, promising option, but in truth has never sufficiently enjoyed faith from Arsene Wenger.
The Italian has just nine appearances for the Gunners since signing professionally in 2006 and will always be remembered for a heroic display in Arsenal's 1-0 win against Fulham in 2009/2010.
The 23-year-old has also endured numerous injuries in recent seasons but did manage 10 appearances with Championship side Hull City last season, where Mannone was very impressive.
However, chances are currently nonexsistent at the Emirates, and a loan spell is set to occur in January.
7. Sebastien Squillaci Will Be Sold
Sebastien Squillaci is set to go down as one of Arsene Wenger's transfer flops as a departure in January appears imminent.
The Frenchman, who was signed from Spanish giants Sevilla last summer for £3.2 million, has never sufficiently adapted to English Premier League football and is currently regarded as the Gunners' sixth-choice central defender.
The 31-year-old recorded 32 appearances and scored twice last season for the Gunners and acquired criticism for a lack of speed and power when dealing with strikers.
The Franch international featured so heavily due to Thomas Vermaelen's long-term Achilles injury and Johan Djourou's rehabilation at the start of the season.
Wenger has already offered Squillaci to La Liga outfit Espanyol, whilst a number of other Spanish and Lique 1 sides are interested.
6. Esteban Granero or Another Cheap Midfielder Will Be Signed
The African Cup of Nations, though an exciting and powerful competition that showcases the true beauty and calibre of African football, is providing an inconvenience for Arsenal with Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho and potentially Emmanuel Frimpong all absent from January 21 to February 12, a time which commands a heavy schedule.
Arsene Wenger will be eager to enforce a new presence, following a desire to secure more talent during the summer and to compensate the lack of players. Last season's PFA Young Player of the Year, Jack Wilshere, is not expected to return until February, and even then the 19-year-old requires rehabilitation.
Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero has long been touted with a move to the Emirates and Wenger is eager to secure a £7 million switch. The Spaniard has fallen out of favour at the Bernabeu due to the immense depth and talent of the Spanish giants and many believe a move will amount for the 24-year-old.
5. Marouane Chamakh Will Be Sold
Arsenal fans are still scratching their heads about what has happened to striker Marouane Chamakh. After signing last summer from French giants Girondins de Bordeaux, the Moroccan immediately took to English football, recording 10 goals in the first half of the 2010/2011 season and emerging as one of the Gunners' best.
However, since 2011 Chamakh boasts just two appearances and has shown an alarming lack of confidence and ability. Granted the immense form of captain Robin van Persie, who has 38 goals in 42 appearances in 2011, has restricted the 27-year-old, but his inability to impact games or enforce his physical presence has become evident.
Furthermore, there appears to be no signs of improvement, prompting speculation of a departure. Almost every team in France is eager on a move and it is becoming increasingly likely a £10 million move to Paris Saint-Germain will materialize.
4. A Striker Will Be Signed
Arsene Wenger has the conundrum of losing energetic Ivorian forward Gervinho to the African Cup of Nations, whilst Marouane Chamakh also departs even if not sold.
This ensures a large amount of strike power is momentarily absent, which leaves captain Robin van Persie and South Korean captain Chu Young-Park as the only recognised first-team strikers.
Combined with Chamakh's situation, Wenger is eager to secure a striker in January and utilize his £50 million budget. Furthermore, with Robin van Persie's precarious contract situation, the Frenchman will want to enforce quality strike power to complement and appease van Persie, but also to add security.
FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski is a prominent target with reports that Wenger is wiling to spend £20 million for the German international, but strikers including Vagner Love and Loic Remy have emerged as potential targets also.
3. A Defender Will Not Be Signed
Despite the fact that for the last half a decade Arsene Wenger has been linked with a large array of defenders, the Frenchman is unlikely to chase a recognised centre-half come January.
Arsenal have long been scrutinized for their frail and uncertain defensive line, but the regained fitness of defensive leader Thomas Vermaelen and the deadline day arrival of Per Mertesacker complement Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny. And then you have the teenage presence Ignasi Miquel and veteran Sebastien Squillaci.
There is no real need for defensive reinforcements.
The Gunners boast a strong defensive line, particularly with Vermaelen and Koscielny and the helm. German giant Mertesacker has taken time to adapt to English football, but he is highly regarded throughout world football and is showing promising signs.
Imposing Swiss international Djourou has over 120 appearances for Arsenal and possesses experience and strength alongside versatility.
Furthermore, Spanish teenager Igansi Miquel is highly touted within the Arsenal academy ranks and is more than capable of holding his own when it comes to both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.
Despite a number of rumours and links with defenders, Arsene Wenger does not need a centre-half come January.
2. Andrey Arshavin Will Not Be Sold
Andrey Arshavin holds the acclaim of having the highest transfer fee paid by Arsenal, following a £15 million move in January 2009 from Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg.
Despite boasting impressive statistics, the Russian winger has endured heavy criticism from Arsenal fans in recent months following inconsistency and an apparent lack of interest.
Last season the 30-year-old recorded 52 appearances, 10 goals and a huge 17 assists, whilst the season prior 39 appearances, 12 goals and seven assists. Those are figures that any world-class forward would be content with. However, Arshavin is still a target for Arsenal fans who have called for his departure at times.
The Russia captain is currently struggling to achieve consistent playing time due to the form of Gervinho and Theo Walcott, but despite rumours of a possible move, it is certain Arshavin will not be sold.
Wenger values his dynamo highly and the raw ability to change a match is too strong to offload in January.
Furthermore, the African Cup of Nations conundrum is another obvious factor.
1. Robin Van Persie Will Be Offered £150,000 a Week
The most important transfer related issue for Arsene Wenger is easily the contract of captain Robin van Persie.
The Dutchman, who is currently considered one of the best strikers in world football at the moment, enters the final year of his Arsenal contract in the upcoming summer, and Wenger is eager not to endure a repeat of the Samir Nasri saga.
However, unlikely Nasri, van Persie has loyalty to Arsenal and is not solely driven by money, although the 28-year-old does desire silverware and UEFA Champions League football alongside playing beside Europe's best players.
Almost every big-name club in Europe is preparing a bid for van Persie, but Wenger has the funds to appease any lingering wage issues of the Netherlands international and come January, the Frenchman is set to make van Persie's contract his No. 1 transfer target.