Arsenal FC: Ranking the Gunners' Potential Transfer Targets

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterDecember 12, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks thoughtful during the Carling Cup Quarter Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on November 29, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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The circus known otherwise as the January transfer window is busy erecting tents around the Emirates Stadium in north London as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thumbs wads of cash and evaluates his current squad from on high.

He did well to fill out his roster at the summer deadline, picking up Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos with the funds garnered from the departures of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.

As a result, the Gunners are back in the hunt in the English Premier League. Unfortunately, Santos is out for three months following ankle surgery, fellow full-back Bacary Sagna is still recovering from a broken leg and (dare I say it?) the insufferable Sebastien Squillaci is on the verge of touching cleat to pitch.

Clearly, the Gunners have some spending to do, but who, among Arsene's rumored targets, should the club pursue?

Yoann Gourcuff

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17:  Yoann Gourcuff of France evades Kieran Gibbs of England during the international friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Wenger was thought to have had his eye on Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, though the Gunners boss recently told Canal+ that he will not pursue the 25-year-old Frenchman next month:

"He is a player I like a lot and I believe people have been very critical towards him in France. However, we won't be in the winter market for any midfielders as we have players that are coming back from injuries."

A smart move by Arsene, to be sure. Arsenal's midfield has proven to be a source of strength this season, despite Cesc moving to Barcelona and Jack Wilshere still recovering from an ankle injury.

Arteta has fit seamlessly into Wenger's scheme while Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song have played fearlessly by his side.

That group will only grow stronger when Wilshere returns in the new year. As such, don't expect the Gunners to shoot for Gourcuff anytime soon.


Tim Ream

HARRISON, NJ - OCTOBER 30: Tim Ream #5 of the New York Red Bulls reacts to a call by the referee during the first half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Red Bull Arena on October 30, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey. The Galaxy defeated the Red Bulls 1-0. (Ph
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Especially not with their back line as banged-up as it is at the moment. Both full-back positions have been black holes at the Emirates this season, with Santos joining Sagna, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou on the injury pile.

The Gunners can't hope to keep climbing the ladder in the EPL with Laurent Koscielny and now Thomas Vermaelen playing out of position.

GiveMeFootball.com is reporting that Arsenal are in the running for New York Red Bulls full-back Tim Ream, though West Bromwich Albion are currently in the lead to land his services. Arsene had toyed with the idea of extending a trial offer to the 24-year-old in November, though nothing came of it.

Arsenal, though, may get an assist in this matter from Thierry Henry, the north London legend and Ream's teammate in MLS. Henry has been training with the Gunners' first-team squad since the Red Bulls were bounced from the MLS playoffs by the LA Galaxy and may play a part in persuading Ream to follow suit.

Such a move would be a massive step up for Ream, though, at this point, the Gunners need all the help they can get to shore up their defence, at least until their litany of downed players returns to fitness.

Gary Cahill

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Gary Cahill of England looks on during the international friendly match between England and Sweden at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

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The Gunners chased after the soon-to-be-26-year-old defender during the summer but ultimately cut short their pursuit as Bolton continued to insist on upwards of £10 million for his services.

Now that the Trotters are firmly entrenched at the bottom of the EPL table, with relegation all but assured, they may be more inclined to relinquish Cahill to an interested club at a more agreeable rate.

Cahill isn't the most fleet-of-foot full-back on the market, but he's eminently familiar with the league and would fill an obvious need on Arsenal's squad.

Whether Wenger can stomach several more weeks of negotiating with Owen Coyle and Phil Gartside remains to be seen, though given the state of his defence, he'd certainly be wise to inquire, at the very least.