Arsene Wenger faces perhaps the most challenging season of his time at Arsenal, and there are plenty of calls for him to spend big in January to ensure Champions League qualification. However the focus this winter might be on clearing out deadwood, rather than bringing in a plethora of new stars.
Where the team needs to strengthen
Whilst players like Walcott, Cazorla and Podolski have all chipped in with goals, Arsenal haven’t found a consistent goalscorer to lead their line. With Walcott perhaps close to leaving, they need to look at bringing in a striker. Diaby’s injury worries should mean they also go in for a defensive midfielder.
Wilfried Zaha could be Arsenal’s first bit of business in January, with the Crystal palace winger perhaps viewed as a replacement for Theo Walcott. Fernando Llorente will continue to the focus of speculation as the striker might be set to leave Bilbao for a bargain price with his contract expiring in the summer. The same may go for French midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who has turned down a new deal at Schalke. There’s a slim chance Thierry Henry could make another return move to the club, although has Wenger ruled out a move for the Frenchman recently. Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez is also reportedly a target, though his £17 million release fee might be viewed as too much by Wenger. Yann M’Vila’s disciplinary problems has meant Arsenal’s interest in the player has waned, but if Wenger feels he can turn him around, the Rennes player could be available for around £8m. If M’Vila is viewed as too risky, West Ham’s Mohamed Diame could interest Arsenal. PSG’s Mamadou Sakho could be a target with the 22 year old defender struggling for playing time in Paris. Finally Nani could be the shock move of the window, with the Portuguese winger struggling to playing time.
Theo Walcott is the biggest worry for Arsenal, with the forward able to speak to foreign clubs about a free move in the summer in January. If a contract agreement can’t be reached, then Wenger might decide to sell Walcott this month. Arsenal will look to offload Andrei Arshavin and Sebastian Squillaci in addition to the deals done for Johan Djourou and Marouane Chamakh if they can, and might also let Chuba Akpom and Thomas Eisfeld leave on loan to gain experience.
There has been plenty of talk about the war chest Arsene Wenger is about to be handed, with rumours of around £35-50m being available to the manager.
Arsenal have often disappointed their fans with inactivity in the January window, before finishing strongly to claim a Champions League place anyway. This year seems different, and you would expect a busy window. However the bulk of the moves might be departures from Arsenal, as they look to clear out the deadwood in their squad, and big name signings might be mostly confined to agreeing summer moves with out of contract players like Moussa Sissoko.