ONE position for Arsenal to strengthen - and FIVE potential targets

Arsenal head into the January transfer window as league leaders, but manager Arsene Wenger will need to strengthen to prolong their success.

The Gunners have exceeded expectations this season, particularly after their 3-1 opening day defeat to Aston Villa which prompted a huge fan backlash. Since then, Mesut Ozil has arrived and the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud have starred to put Arsenal in a great position to claim their first trophy since 2005.

Giroud has worked tirelessly up front this season, and whilst Nicklas Bendtner has contributed a couple of goals of late, the Dane can't be relied upon in the long term and his injury sustained against Cardiff City only served to prove that Wenger needs to bring in another centre forward this month.

With money available to spend this month, here are five strikers that Wenger could target in order to bring silverware back to the Emirates Stadium.

Michy Batshuayi, Standard Liege

The young Belgian striker is valued at around £8m after 14 goals in just 21 league games for Standard Liege this season. The 20 year old is also wanted by Everton but it's believed that Arsenal are leading the race for Batshuayi, who will be looking to emulate the success of other Belgian strikers Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke. Belgian media speculate that Batshuayi will leave in the January transfer window, but Liege chairman Roland Duchatelet insists his prized asset will not be departing the club until the summer.

Dimitar Berbatov, Fulham

Having spent six years with rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, it remains to be seen how Arsenal fans would take to the Bulgarian striker. The 32 year old is reportedly unhappy at Craven Cottage and has been strongly linked with a £2m move to the Emirates Stadium this month, but Wenger has played down the rumours, saying; "He is not a name that we have considered at the moment.” Whilst this may be the case, if the Gunners fail to land their top targets and Berbatov is still available come the end of window, Wenger may be tempted.

Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid

Possibly the biggest name to be linked with Arsenal in recent times, Costa would cost around £32m and any move from Arsenal would be a huge signal of intent. Atletico Madrid's Brazilian-turned-Spaniard has filled the void left by Falcao over the summer, and leads the goalscoring table in Spain with 19 goals – more than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Wenger is a known fan of Costa, and will be looking to see off interest from Chelsea to land the hitman.

Jackson Martinez, FC Porto

As Arsenal and Chelsea chase Costa, it seems that Martinez has become the runners-up prize. The 27 year old Colombian has scored 15 goals in 21 games for Porto this season, and put both sides on red alert by admitting his interest in playing for them. "Where would I like to play? When I was a child I rooted for Chelsea and Arsenal." said Martinez, who will be starring for Colombia at next summer's World Cup. A £30m fee has been mentioned for Martinez, who pleaded with the Portuguese giants to let him get a 'good transfer'.

Alexandre Pato, Corinthians

Pato's falling out with manager former Tite means the former AC Milan striker is likely to leave his homeland this month, and Sky Sports' Brazilian expert Paulo Freitas said: "A move to the Premier League is a realistic long as the £10 million price they have set for him is met." Arsenal had a £6.5m bid rejected for the Brazil international, and could easily match Corinthians' price tag. With a record better than one goal every three games in Europe, Pato could provide the perfect foil for Giroud.

images: © nasmac, © zongo

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