Wenger targets 'special' player - but who could he mean?

Arsenal manager will have fans tongues wagging at the prospect of another marquee name arriving…

'We are on alert in the market if something special turns up,' Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is quoted to have said, as per the Daily Mail, in a statement that will surely be circulated constantly throughout the next month.

Arsenal already added an extraordinary talent to their roster of players at the end of the summer transfer window, with the somewhat surprise acquisition of Mesut Ozil for a sum that still exceeded the combined sums paid for the second (Sylvain Wiltord - £13m), third (Andrei Arshavin - £12m) and fourth (Samir Nasri - £12m) record transfer purchases.

It would take an off-radar purchase for Wenger to recruit a second 'special' player in the space of six months.

Of all the players Arsenal have most been linked to… Alex Pato, Alvaro Morata, Lassana Diarra, not one of them represent special. Extremely talented, yes. But special - akin to Ozil - no.

Luis Suarez would certainly fit this criteria, but Wenger, in the same breath, ruled out a move for the Uruguayan due to his recent commitment to Liverpool: 'We won't approach for Suarez. He has signed a contract.'

Which players are seemingly off-radar, potentially available, who possess the attributes that would attract Wenger enough to part company with multiple millions?

Edinson Cavani has been sporadically linked with a Paris Saint Germain exit route despite only representing the Ligue 1 hopefuls for a half season, and would no doubt help shoulder the goal-scoring burden felt by Gunners forward Olivier Giroud. He would also cost an estimated £50m to £60m.

9): Thomas Vermaelen

The strength of defensive pairing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker had seen the Gunners, prior to the Manchester City defeat, build up (statistically speaking) the best rearguard in the division but their understanding at the back has seen captain Thomas Vermaelen sidelined and press-linked with a move to Internazionale.

The Belgium international, though, has been outspoken in his desire to stay in North London: ‘I am happy we are top of the league’, he said, as quoted by Sky Sports, earlier in the month.

8): Alex Song

The Cameroon midfielder, arguably in a similar position to Vermaelen having seen him lose his place in the team and starved of regular football, has been linked with a sensational return to the Emirates Stadium but, looking at the form of Mathieu Flamini, his role would be likely limited to the bench if he ever were to transfer back to Arsenal. An unlikely move.

7): Luis Suarez

The Suarez to Arsenal speculation has calmed somewhat of late but, considering how interested Wenger was in the Uruguayan in the summer and judging how much he has improved since then, how could the Frenchman not marvel at the Liverpool forward’s form?

Realistically, a world-record bid would be required for Liverpool to part company with the most in-form striker in world football. Are Arsenal likely to bid £90m for him in January?

6): Javier Hernandez

Wayne Rooney, Hernandez and even Robin van Persie… bar Danny Welbeck, Arsenal have been linked with every one of Manchester United’s forward line since the summer. Out of them all, Hernandez may be the most likely, however, David Moyes may be loathe to allow the Mexican to leave Old Trafford because of the injuries that are cursing van Persie.

5): Iker Casillas

At one point, a goalkeeping recruit appeared to be a foregone conclusion last season, however, like Aaron Ramsey, like Olivier Giroud and like the defensive axis of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, Wojciech Szczesny is one of many Arsenal stars to have improved drastically in the current calendar year. Expect this rumour to be just that – paper talk.

4): Antoine Griezmann

Out of many of the players associated with Arsenal transfers, the calibre, occupied position and even nationality of Griezmann – a reliable goal-scoring left-sided winger from France – all make sense. The 22-year-old has returned ten goals and one assist from 13 starts in Spain's Primera Division this season, meaning in terms of minutes per goal/assist, he is more capable than Olivier Giroud.

If bought, Griezmann would not replace Giroud, though, but complement him. He would also provide good width on the left, a near mirror of Walcott’s position on the right flank in season’s past.

3): Davy Klaassen

If ever an Ajax academy product is lauded as the next Dennis Bergkamp then there is only one destination the media will link him to – Arsenal. Arsenal scouts were apparently in Netherlands in mid-December to witness the 20-year-old bag a hat-trick against NAC Breda and were suitably impressed.

2): Martin Montoya

Beginning to break into the Barcelona first-team, Montoya has featured 32 times in La Liga since graduating into the senior squad, however, if he wanted to become a first-team regular, he may have to leave Camp Nou and Daniel Alves’ shadow.

Bacary Sagna’s increasingly dubious future at Arsenal has been under the spotlight and the full-back’s contract expires in the summer. Montoya could be the replacement that battles Carl Jenkinson for the number 3 shirt.

1): Edinson Cavani

Almost as audacious as the Radamel Falcao to Chelsea story is the Edinson Cavani exit speculation. Both Ligue 1 players have only been employed by their respective clubs, AS Monaco and Paris Saint Germain, for a half season but both could allegedly leave.

For Cavani, he is reportedly unhappy at being the sidekick to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s superhero and reports from France indicate that Arsenal were eager to express their interest in luring the Uruguayan to London.

image: © jansolo09

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