Tuesday 23 January 2018

10 Arsenal January transfer targets

Germany and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan
Germany and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan

Here are 10 players who could be on Arsenal's radar ahead of the January transfer market.

Ilkay Gundogan, Borussia Dortmund

A German international feels like he's been on the scene forever but is still only 25, so probably falls just the right side of Arsene Wenger's youth-centric recruitment policy. Has the discipline to replace injured Francis Coquelin shielding the defence, but versatile enough to become a useful player in more or less any midfield role.

Adrien Rabiot, Paris St Germain

Possessing a great first touch and extremely comfortable in possession, Rabiot certainly fits the Arsenal archetype. Twenty-year-old midfielder has impressed in French capital this season, filling in equally competently for Ezequiel Lavezzi in an attacking role, or deeper, in the place of Thiago Motta. Does not appear particuarly strong yet, so question marks about his readiness to adapt to the Premier League.

Riechedly Bazoer, Ajax

The central midfielder has already rejected a move to Arsenal, aged 16, when he decided to stay in his native Netherlands. Plays deep but is comfortable bringing the ball forward, so another who could slot into a number of positions or roles in Arsenal's team. Started every game for Ajax this season until sustaining a thigh injury earlier this month.

Lars Bender, Bayer Leverkusen

Another central midfielder. A theme, you may notice, is developing. Bender would bring experience and authority to Arsenal's central midfield. Arsene Wenger has been rumoured to be interested in the German for several years, but he's under contract with Leverkusen for another three-and-a-half seasons, so he may not come cheap.

William Carvalho, Sporting Lisbon

Well look at that, it's another central midfielder! Carvalho is more defensive-minded than many on this list. His arrival would greatly reduce the suspicion that Arsenal are forever one injury away from disaster in a key position. Several other clubs rumoured to be interested, though.

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

The transfer rumour that just will not die. Even after the French striker signed a new contract in August this year. Real Madrid may take a dim view if Benzema is convicted for his alleged involvement in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape blackmail plot. Similarly, Arsenal may not be too keen to sign him then, either.

But maybe, just maybe, the universe sends Benzema to London in January and we can get on with the next eternal transfer rumour: "Benzema: back to Madrid?"

Vincent Koziello, Nice

The French youngster has only made 21 appearances for Nice but that's been enough to alert Arsenal's scouts. Koziello is an all-action central attacking midfielder, but so short at 5'5" that he's frequently mocked by opposition fans. "The mockery is not funny but I have hardened myself," he said.

Ruben Neves, Porto

A defensive midfielder who is likely to cost as much as £22m which may well give Wenger the spending willies. Porto have made Neves a mainstay of their side at just 18, with his first touch and willingness to attack from deep winning him admirers other than Arsenal. Chelsea and Liverpool, most notably.

Andrija Zivkovic, Partizan Belgrade

The winger is the youngest player ever to make an appearance for Serbia, aged just 17 years and 3 months. Now captains his club, but is only 19. Chelsea are reportedly also monitoring the teenager, who is technically gifted and a talented dribbler. An unkown "they" are predictably calling him the "Serbian Messi".

Alexandre Pato, Corinthians

The Brazilian striker was briefly the most exciting player in the world when he broke into the AC Milan side in 2006. Nearly 10 years later his stock has fallen significantly and he's out on loan at Sao Paulo, from Corinthians, in his home country.

Has been increasingly linked with a Premier League move of late, possibly by a keen agent. Could make an intriguing loan option to bolster the forward ranks.


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