Arsene Wenger has been given his budget for the January transfer window. Here are three cheaper options from Ligue 1 that could improve Arsenal's options.
Following another two points dropped at home to Hull City at the weekend, it’s clear that Arsenal still have problems. Arsene Wenger has been told that he has £20 million to spend in January and with English players always over-priced, the Gunners boss will have to look across the channel.
Here are three players from Ligue 1 that Wenger could sign for under £20 million:
Nicolas N’Koulou: Olympique de Marseille
When Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 two years ago, N’Koulou was put in the same class as Paris Saint-Germain’s captain Thiago Silva. However, last season the Cameroonian defender was far from his best and his standing within Ligue 1 slipped.
A lack of interest keep the centre-back in France, but now under Marcelo Bielsa, the 24-year-old is getting back to his dominating best.
Playing under the guidance of the Argentine coach, N’Koulou is the leader of the OM defence. He has shown improved organisational skills and his reading of the game is back to it’s best.
If Wenger wants more leadership at the back, N’Koulou would be perfect and would be available for less than £10 million.
Cameroon are top of their qualification group for the 2015 African Cup of Nations this winter, but this shouldn’t put Wenger off buying a player that was worth twice that price two years ago.
Jordan Ferri: Olympique Lyonnias
If Wenger is looking to add a defensive midfielder this winter, there are plenty of big name signings out there. Blaise Matuidi, Gianelli Imbula, Maxime Gonalons and Marco Verratti are just to name a few, but all are outside Arsenal’s budget.
One option that would be perfect for the Gunners right now is 22-year-old midfielder Jordan Ferri. As Lyon have struggled with injuries over the past 12 months, Ferri has stepped in and blossomed into one of Lyon’s best players.
The midfielder is available to play anywhere in the centre of the park, he is no stranger to the physical challenge that playing deep brings, but then he can also step out and pick out passes from all over the pitch.
Ferri would be an instant upgrade on both Mickael Arteta and Mathieu Flamini and would embrace the challenge of playing in the Premier League. Offer around £7 million and Lyon would listen to offers.
André Ayew: Olympique de Marseille
There is no doubt that Wenger is always keep to sniff out a bargain, and in André Ayew, he could steal the march on Liverpool by making a move for this Ghanian international in January.
Like N’Koulou, Ayew will likely be playing at the AFCON this winter, but come January he will be allowed to talk to any interested teams as his contract is up at the end of the season.
Marseille are unlikely to be able to match the €50,000 a week the forward would like, something that Arsenal would have no problem matching.
Left to play till the end of the season and Marseille would lose the 24-year-old for free. Offer OM around £3 million and they could be tempted into an early deal.
He is capable of playing all over the front-line and brings power, pace and aerial ability to any attack. He is creatively excellent and a leader for both club and country.
Don’t let the international commitments get in the way, he would be back in February and for such a small fee, he would be the ideal winter signing.