Arsenal are reportedly set to give their squad a proper injection of quality in the January transfer window. Arsene Wenger is supposedly looking to firm up his midfield and defensive options with the captures of Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels.
According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, the Gunners boss will not publicly admit his squad is somewhat offensively loaded, but behind the scenes, the club is making forays into the transfer market.
Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star reports those advances will be made towards Borussia Dortmund, with Hummels and Gundogan the targets.
Cross also cites the latter of the aforementioned pairing as an option for the Gunners and outlined the current circumstances when it comes to the midseason window:
Wenger is desperate to sign a defender with Mathieu Debuchy facing a lengthy lay-off because of a dislocated shoulder and Laurent Koscielny playing on through a chronic Achilles problem.
With Jack Wilshere still two weeks away from returning to training after ankle surgery and Mikel Arteta also not expected back this month, the north Londoners also want another midfielder.
They have been alerted by Ilkay Gundogan's contract situation at Borussia Dortmund, with the German midfielder only having 18 months left. Gundogan, 24, may be available for around £16million.
Here’s a look at the kind of attributes Gundogan could potentially bring to Arsenal:
If Wenger is looking for an indomitable defensive midfielder to shore up the base of his midfield, then Gundogan is not the right fit. Indeed, if he’s looking for a player to come in and be a consistent figure in the team, given the German’s perennial problems when it comes to injuries, he wouldn’t be an ideal acquisition.
The Dortmund man is a majestic footballer at his best, and despite the club’s recent tribulations, his return to form and fitness has been a major positive. But stylistically, he isn’t the kind of player the Gunners should be targeting, even if £16 million is a relative snip for his services.
Cross mentions in his piece that Southampton’s midfield dynamo, Morgan Schneiderlin, remains firmly on the Gunners’ radar. As noted here by Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe, Schneiderlin would be better suited to eradicate one of the obvious deficiencies in this Gunners' squad:
The most pertinent issue in need of addressing is the team’s current dearth of defensive options, however. Encouragingly, according to Turrell’s piece, Arsenal have been given fresh hope in their pursuit of Hummels after recent quotes attributed to the defender were pretty blase about his future with Dortmund:
I have never said I will stay until 2024 or 2030 or whenever.
But I have stayed until today. I will stick to my way of not promising anything and maybe leave someday instead of saying I will stay forever and then leave all of a sudden.
The 27-year-old would be an ideal purchase for the Gunners in the midseason window and, as noted by Tighe, he’s one of the best defenders on the planet:
While his teammate may not be quite what Arsenal need, Hummels would be a perfect purchase for Wenger. The German is not only a polished, multifaceted defender, but he’s a player who is wonderfully adept at bringing the ball out from the back and constructing attacks from deeper areas of the field, something that the Arsenal boss demands of his players in those areas.
Bleacher Report German football expert Stefan Bienkowski thinks the World Cup winner would be perfect for the Premier League:
The obvious stumbling block here is Dortmund’s reluctance to sell midseason. The club is in a major pickle in the Bundesliga, and when the action resumes following a winter hiatus, Jurgen Klopp will be tasked with steering his team out of the relegation zone and to a credible finishing position. Doing so without Hummels would be perilously difficult.
With Gundogan’s contract running down—due to expire in the summer of 2016—Klopp may be more willing to sell him to avoid losing the player for a cut-price figure. But at this juncture, Arsenal shouldn’t pursue the 24-year-old with any great endeavour—doing so would be a mere indulgence in intricate, offensively minded midfielders on Wenger's part.