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Arsenal Transfer Rumors: 10 Latest Players Linked to the Gunners

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2011

Arsenal Transfer Rumors: 10 Latest Players Linked to the Gunners

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    'Tis the season for speculation and transfer rumors galore, especially in the world of Arsenal.

    Arsene Wenger has ample funds available to strengthen his squad, and he also has many ways to put that money to good use in order to strengthen the deficiencies in his team.

    Will a loan signing arrive at the Emirates? Will the manager reinforce the attack? Who will Wenger turn to to plug the gaping hole Arsenal have at left back? And could Arsenal legend Thierry Henry make a glorious short-term return to the club?

    With less than a week until the opening of the January Transfer Window, these questions are in the fore of everyone's minds, and, predictably, a wave of transfer rumors have popped up to speculate as to who might be donning the red and white in a few weeks.

    Here are 10 of those men who have recently been linked with a January transfer to the red side of North London, whether they deserve to be or not.

Wayne Bridge

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    I truly hope that Bridge, who would arrive in a loan deal from Manchester City, does not make his way anywhere near the Emirates Stadium.

    The 31-year-old left back has not played since September, so he is not anywhere close to match-fit. And anyone who saw him "play" for West Ham during the latter part of last season knows that Bridge is a poor defender who is well past whatever his "best" might have been.

    Furthermore, his wages are around £95,000 per week, and Arsenal would be crazy to pick up any substantial amount of that for a player of Bridge's quality.

    It is clear that Bridge certainly enjoys that money though, as he has stuck around at City to claim his money, rather than actually try to play football at another club, much to the disappointment and confusion of Roberto Mancini.

    Certainly, after what Arsenal has gone through with money-hungry mercenaries like Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor—both of whom went to City, funnily enoughtaking on another in Bridge would show no ability to learn.

Lukas Podolski

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    Podolski would be a perfect candidate to reinforce the Gunners' attack, with Marouane Chamakh performing at the level of my grandmother, and Gervinho's impending departure to the African Cup of Nations.

    The German, who, at 26, is entering the prime of his career, would serve as a fantastic backup to Robin van Persie. And, Wenger would feel more comfortable resting with a highly capable goalscorer ready to take the Dutchman's place.

    Also, with Andrei Arshavin looking like the attacking version of Sebastien Squillaci with his ineptitude, Podolski could slot into the left wing, a position he has frequently played in the past.

    With van Persie as the only pure goalscorer Arsenal possess at the moment, Podolski would be a very smart addition to both provide another avenue for goals and to keep Arshavin securely on the bench.

Mario Gotze

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    The Mario-Gotze-to-Arsenal rumor is one that just does not seem to go away, and for good reason.

    The German wunderkind perfectly fits Arsene Wenger's mold of youth, technical ability and overwhelming amounts of raw talent.

    The 19-year-old is already being given a run in the German national team, as his dribbling ability and dazzling creativeness has gotten him linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

    Despite the fact that a January move would seem unlikely, Arsene Wenger's ability to bring the best out of young talent might just convince Gotze to move to North London.

    The thought of a Gotze-Arteta-Wilshere-Ramsey-Song rotation in midfield is just scary.

Casemiro

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    TalkSPORT are reporting that another 19-year-old starlet, Casemiro, is on Arsene Wenger's radar after being capped by Brazil and emerging as one of the best footballers at Sao Paulo.

    A versatile midfielder, Casemiro is tough in the tackle and plays with an aggressive edge.

    With the likes of AC Milan and Juventus reportedly interested, now is the time to snap up the hot prospect, which could apparently be done for a fee of around £10 million.

    Hopefully, the youngster hasn't been influenced by this guy, his midfield partner at Sao Paulo. Arsenal certainly don't need another of his kind at the club.

    And let me also say that the boy's name is quite romantic. Perhaps Casemiro could transfer that silky smooth moniker to the Emirates pitch.

Alexandre Pato

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    In one of the more far-fetched stories to emerge recently, caughtoffside.com reports that a club record £23 million bid could be the way to bring Alexandre Pato to North London.

    The website speculates that, with the Brazilian's playing time somewhat limited of late, he could seek a move away from the San Siro, possibly making room for the arrival of Carlos Tevez.

    However, I simply cannot see Arsene Wenger smashing his transfer record for a player who would essentially serve as a backup to Robin van Persie. And I do not see why Pato would feel that he could get more opportunities playing in the same club as the most in-form striker in the world.

    Perhaps if van Persie were to be sold in the summer, Pato could legitimately be mentioned as a replacement. But as of now, with a healthy and seemingly happy van Persie leading the line, I struggle to see how such a move could materialize.

Marco Reus

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    One of the hottest prospects in Germany at the moment, Reus is being mentioned as a possible target for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as Arsenal.

    A tricky wing player with pace and flair, Reus would most likely take over the Andrei Arshavin role of super-sub and late-game impact player, as well as being handed a few starts.

    More than accelerating the Russian's departure from the club, Reus would be able to provide depth to an Arsenal side that has a paucity of options on the bench compared to many of their competitors.

    When Gervinho goes off to the ACN, Reus could easily be one of those who could step up and fill the Ivorian's role until he returns.

    Purchasing Reus would be a clever bit of business for Arsene Wenger, and would, if nothing else, provide more competition for places between hungry players. That is never a bad thing.

Jan Vertonghen

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    Vertonghen has been constantly linked with Arsenal because he would be such a perfect fit in so many ways.

    The Belgian is best friends with compatriot, national team partner and former Ajax teammate Thomas Vermaelen. The chemistry between them would provide for a shorter-than-normal acclimatization period to the Premier League.

    Second, Vertonghen would provide excellent value for his transfer fee, as his versatility allows him to play across the defence or in defensive midfield. We all know how much Wenger loves finding value for his money in the transfer market.

    And finally, Vertonghen could slot into the left back position upon his arrival at Arsenal, plugging the widest hole that currently plagues the Gunners.

    With the leadership he would bring as well, Jan Vertonghen would be an all-around fantastic purchase for Arsenal.

Lucas Biglia

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    Speculation about Arsenal potentially signing Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia has kicked up after his agent stated that Arsenal were among the clubs who had shown a genuine interest in the Argentine international.

    Biglia could add some depth to Arsenal's midfield, and he is especially adept at playing the role of defensive midfielder.

    However, this is one of the rumors that I am less inclined to believe, as, in addition to having one of the best in the world at the position in Alex Song, budding talents Emmanuel Frimpong and Francis Coquelin are chomping at the bit for a chance to play.

    Thus, it seems fairly unlikely to me that Wenger would open his tight wallet to bring in a player who could unsettle those who he already has, and counteract his youth-first approach to building a team.

Aly Cissokho

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    Another player Wenger could turn to as a solution to his left back crisis, Cissokho is a remarkable athlete who is a complete left back, with his endless stamina and lightening pace.

    Encouragingly, there are strong indications coming out of Lyon that the sale of Cissokho is imminent, as the club is taking cost-cutting measures.

    Even the president has admitted that the club have bought a replacement for the Frenchman.

    Thus, Cissokho's price would be low enough for him to fall into Arsene Wenger's price range, as the boss surely does not want to break the bank to merely find a short-term fix to an injury crisis.

    But if Cissokho proves his worth, Arsenal would not be short of depth, and would have the luxury of selling either Kieran Gibbs or Andre Santos if they under-perform. As of now, Gibbs looks like he would be the more likely candidate to be shown the door.

Thierry Henry

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    And last, but certainly not least, we come to probably the most high-profile of all the transfers on this list.

    To Arsene Wenger, a short-term fix to Arsenal's strike problems in the form of Henry would make the most fiscal sense. And what makes the most fiscal sense usually drives the manager's decision making come transfer season.

    As Jamie Redknapp correctly states, "Even at 34...he can do a top job." Though Henry might not be the monster he once was, he could certainly have a positive impact coming off the bench. And a start in the odd game is certainly not beyond Henry, even at this point.

    Those who are opposed to the return of the legendary striker must remember that his only task is to lift a little pressure off the shoulders of Robin van Persie—not to routinely lead the line for Arsenal.

    Add to that the coolness of fielding a player who is immortalized in bronze inside of his own stadium, and it becomes hard to resist bringing Thierry Henry back for a final run in red and white.

    I doubt that Arsene Wenger will be able to.

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