Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he wants to 'go British'. Here's a look at seven players who could just be on his shopping list in January...
Arsenal have have a reputation under Arsene Wenger for their lack of British players, back in 2005 the Frenchman became the first ever manager to name no Brits in the whole of his starting squad against Crystal Palace.
Today the scene is very different at Arsenal, with Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, and Carl Jenkinson all members of the first team squad, and not to mention those hoping to break through like Chuba Akpom and Nico Yennaris amongst others.
Seemingly fed up of seeing his foreign stars leave for abroad, Wenger now is of the mindset that Brits will give the club longer-term stability and are more likely to stay loyal, even if that won't be the only factor.
"If the quality is local, it is of course even better because it gives you more guarantee of stability because the players who are English who play for Arsenal are more likely to stay for a longer term than foreign players, but we look first at quality, that is the most important."
So here is a look at seven players who fit the bill, both talent-wise, and nationality, as options for the Gunners in the transfer market.
Much has been said about the Crystal Palace youngster over the past two months, plenty by himself. He put his foot in it when he said he only feels inferior to Messi and Ronaldo, in an interview ahead of his England debut, but you have to admire his confidence. Wenger yesterday confirmed he was going to bid for the winger, but his reported £9 million offer is well below the figure his club hope to receive. Manchester United, Tottenham, and Liverpool are also interested.
17-year-old Shaw has been compared to Gareth Bale, an inevitable comparison given he plays on the left side for Southampton. The Saints are a side Arsenal have plundered for talent in recent years with Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain so they will be well aware of his talents. Chelsea were linked with him in the summer, and he made his Premier League debut earlier this month.
Derby County's Will Hughes has been compared to Liam Brady, a comparison to make Arsenal fans sit up and take notice. His natural talent has seen him make his debut for the club in the Championship at just 17, on the right side of midfield. Arsenal have been linked with signing him, and he could cost around £6 million. An England under-21 international already, he was even linked with Barcelona back in February
Kieran Trippier took a wise move to move away from Manchester City for the sake of his career a couple of years ago, and it has seen him make more than 100 appearances in the Championship. City's spending meant he was never going to be given a chance there, and he has impressed as an England under-21 international. If Arsenal snap up the right-back, now 22 he could compete with Jenkinson for years to come.
Centre-back Eric Dier is a rare breed of English footballer, one that has chosen to develop his career abroad at a young age. The 18-year-old plays for Sporting Lisbon, and has broken into the first team this season. The defender is an England youth international, and had a loan spell with Everton last season. At some stage a switch to the Premier League is inevitable, and he would be well worth the Gunners taking a look if they can move Johan Djourou on.
Midfielder James Ward-Prowse started this season in Southampton's first team, and quickly impressed with his swift feet and eye for a pass. Just 18, he recently signed a five-year deal with the Saints, but his progression and burgeoning talent means he is a player Arsenal should monitor if they are serious about adding English talent to the centre of their midfield.
Given the way Mannone stepped in for Szczesny earlier this season, there was much debate about who is the club's future goalkeeper. Mannone's contract is up at the end of the season and there is speculation he could choose to move back to Italy. Jack Butland is Joe Hart's biggest challenger for England's goalkeeping position, and it is only a matter of time before he leaves Birmingham. Arsenal would be wise to take a gamble on him and bring him in as cover, potentially developing into the number one.
Which of the above would you like to see Arsenal sign?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald