Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Julian Draxler, Jordi Alba and More

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IOctober 5, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 18: Julian Draxler of FC Schalke 04 reacts as his team fails to score during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 18, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Arsenal's defeat to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon leaves the Gunners nine points off the summit of the Premier League, even at this early stage of the new season.  

For fans who have become weary of their side failing to mount genuine challenges for the league title, it is a major blow after a summer in which the arrival of Alexis Sanchez suggested the club were intent on making a serious impact this year.  

As such, attention is already turning to the January transfer window and what work Arsene Wenger's side can do to improve their squad and at least make a credible attempt to meet their fans' ambitions.

It is little surprise, then, to see a number of illustrious names linked with a move to Emirates Stadium. Keep reading for a round-up of the latest Arsenal transfer news.

Julian Draxler

Guess who's back? Arsenal and Schalke winger Julian Draxler have been linked for some time now, with his name a regular feature of recent transfer windows for the club.

The Sunday People's Neil Moxley reports that Arsenal scouts travelled to watch the German playmaker take on Maribor in the Champions League in midweek, with Draxler having returned from suspension for the tie.

While fans would doubtless welcome Draxler to the club, given his undeniable ability from his favoured position on the left flank, there are real questions as to whether his signing is what the club requires at present.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17:  Julian Draxler of Schalke crosses the ball as Eden Hazard of Chelsea closes in during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Chelsea and FC Schalke 04 on September 17, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mi
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

If anything, following the summer acquisitions of Danny Welbeck and Alexis, it would be fair to say that there is a current excess of attacking players at the club. Theo Walcott will, by the new year, return from injury, while Lukas Podolski is unable to make the starting XI even at the present time.

An increase in quality is always welcome, but there are other areas of the pitch—principally defensive midfield and full-back—that must be addressed first.

Draxler is a long-term target of Wenger and his scouting team, with latest reports a mere continuation of that interest. The 21-year-old has not had a great year in 2014, failing to earn inclusion at the World Cup, but he is still regarded as one of the best young players in Europe in his position.

Jordi Alba

VALENCIA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Jordi Alba of Barcelona celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Levante UD and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on September 21, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

While it comes as no surprise to see Arsenal linked with a top-class left-back, reports from the Daily Express' Anthony Chapman that the club are eyeing a move for Barcelona's Jordi Alba come somewhat out of the blue.

Firstly, despite the summer additions of Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen—two centre-backs who can play on the left—it is unlikely that Barcelona manager Luis Enrique would choose to part with Alba at this point.

The club have no other player of Alba's quality and are currently banned from signing players for the next two transfer windows, per The Guardian, meaning that any sale would be a major risk.

Much-vaunted youngster Alex Grimaldo, for all the hype, is also unlikely to be trusted at the top level yet despite the positive reviews:

Alba has started five of Enrique's seven league games thus far, with little to suggest that he has in any way fallen out of favour at the Camp Nou.

Arsenal could improve on their current duo of Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal, with the former injury-prone and the latter often left exposed due to his lack of pace. However, there are more realistic targets than Alba.

There may well be interest from the Gunners in his services, but given the circumstances, it is hard to see any chance of success in the January window.

Striking Options?

Paolo Giovannini/Associated Press

New forward Danny Welbeck may have enjoyed a decent start to life in North London, with four goals in his eight appearances thus far. However, two frontline strikers—including currently injured Olivier Giroud—is not enough for a side with Arsenal's ambitions.

Given that report that Giroud will be out until January and therefore could take some time to recover full fitness, an addition in that department would be little surprise.

The Express' Anthony Chapman reports that Andre Pierre Gignac and Sebastian Giovinco are targets for Arsenal in January, with the former currently on fire for Marcelo Bielsa's Marseille side in France.

Marseille top the Ligue 1 standings by five points at this early stage of the season, and powerful striker Gignac's nine goals have been a major contributing factor to their success.

However, for any potential suitors, his form is an issue. While the suggestion was he was available in the summer, Marseille would likely demand a huge bid to sell with their eyes on a potential first league title in five years.

Giovinco, a diminutive and versatile forward, would be a far more realistic possibility given his current inability to make the Juventus starting lineup on a regular basis. However, he would not be the answer to problems in the central striking berth.

Football Italia suggest that he would be used in a deal to take Podolski to Juventus:

The Italian would be a useful squad player for the Gunners, but given that he would be unlikely to improve the club's first-choice starting lineup, he would be a curious choice for a January move on Arsenal's behalf.


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