Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 7 Players Arsene Wenger May Look to Move in January
In a month's time, the January transfer window will be in full flight, ensuring a whirlwind of rumours, speculation and transfers that will make bearable the English weather and snow. Rumours worldwide have already intensified, and with more and more clubs boasting excessive funds, big things are set to occur.
Arsenal have naturally attracted much transfer speculation in terms of players arriving thanks to Arsene Wenger's upgraded £50 million budget as approved by the board. However, whilst the Frenchman is set to implement some changes into his talented squad, potential departures also need to be addressed.
Wenger currently possesses a large squad with a number of quality players struggling to secure consistent playing time due to the form of others. The Gunners have not won eight of their last eleven matches in all competitions without strong individual performances.
It is inevitable that there will be departures in January, and some strong candidates will indeed exit the Emirates. However, just who will Wenger sell?
Bleacher Report establishes the seven players who could depart the Gunners' this winter.
7. Rhys Murphy
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Arsene Wenger has always boasted an exciting and large array of young talent in his reserves and academy. There are numerous success stories of teenagers and young guns who have progressed up the Arsenal ranks and made an emphatic transition to the first team. But there have also been a large number who ultimately failed to ever impact at Arsenal despite their talent.
Rhys Murphy looks set to be another. The small, pacey striker has been at the Gunners since the age of 14 and has impressed with his speed and clinical finishing. However, injuries and the quality and amount of forwards ahead of the 21-year-old have restricted any opportunity of first-team football.
Nonetheless, the Englishman has been a consistent feature for the reserves for a number of seasons. In 2010/2011, Murphy managed 14 appearances and three goals. Apart from a brief spell in League One with Brentford, the striker has since had little first-team football and is set to depart in January.
6. Vito Mannone
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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 season began. This ensures the remaining three first-team keepers will be less likely to receive opportunities.
Italian youngster Vito Mannone appears unlikely to see any first-team football unless mass injuries occur. Arsenal's third-choice shot stopper, 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 impressive appearances with Championship side Hull City last season.
Wenger does value Mannone, and there have been talks of potential loan deals emerging, but the young gun may be eager just to depart.
5. Manuel Almunia
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Veteran Manuel Almunia looks set to finally complete a move that fans have been demanding for a number of years. The Spaniard, who has been at the Gunners since 2004, became the Arsenal first choice in 2008, but his time at the top was not impressive or enjoyable for him or the fans.
The 34-year-old is no doubt a quality keeper who is also a natural leader. However, Almunia struggled with consistency, making needless errors and poor decisions that ultimately cost Arsenal dearly throughout their seasons.
The former Celta Vigo shot stopper is currently the fourth-choice keeper at the Gunners and recently impressed on loan with Championship side West Ham this season. He is unlikely to ever add to his impressive 173 appearances for the Gunners.
4. Sebastien Squillaci
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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 French international featured so heavily due to Thomas Vermaelen's long-term Achilles injury and Johan Djourou's rehabilitation 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.
3. Lukasz Fabianski
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The Polish shot stopper is said to be unhappy warming the benches as the deputy Arsenal keeper, and with Wojciech Szczesny's stunning form, chances are unlikely to arise any time soon. Fabianski has managed three appearances this season, all in the Carling Cup, where the 26-year-old has by no means performed poorly but failed to enforce his presence.
Wenger values Fabianski highly, and the former Legia Warsaw keeper was in stunning form this time last year before a season-ending shoulder injury occurred in January. The Poland international showed his maturity and calibre last season after a slow and mistake-fuelled start to his Arsenal career.
However, sitting on the substitutes' bench is not appealling for a keeper of his stature, and do not be suprised to see Fabianski depart the Emirates.
2. Andrei Arshavin
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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 he added 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.
This is becoming more likely and necessary with the emergence and depth of Wenger's wingers. Teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been outstanding in his short and minimum opportunities and will slowly be integrated into a consistent first-team, role whilst Japanese teenager Ryo Miyaichi looks to be a superb talent if not injured.
Furthermore, Gervinho and Theo Walcott both seem to enforce more impact than Arshavin has in recent weeks, whilst South Korean captain Chu Young-Park is capable of fulfilling a wing role. The Russian is not content with the amount of time he is receiving, which may call for a departure in January,
1. Marouane Chamakh
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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.