In two short weeks, Arsenal could see the January transfer window shut without a single move consummated. But Arsene Wenger’s side is still reportedly contemplating several significant moves at both defense and midfield.
Following their 5-0 demolishing of Swansea City Saturday, Arsenal and the rest of the Premier League will likely strategize much of their transfer activity to thwart Chelsea’s ascendance atop the table.
And there may be no better way for the Gunners to chip away at Chelsea than by adding AC Milan midfielder and former Blues star Michael Essien. The versatile 32-year-old is expected to pass on renewing his contract with the Italian side, according to Daily Express, and Arsenal could move into position for his signature.
For nine years, the Ghana native secured 168 appearances and seven goals at Stamford Bridge, the kind of experience Arsenal could use against their Blues foes in the final stretch of the season. The Gunners are currently sixth on the table, but a victory over Manchester City Sunday would do a great service in challenging Southampton for fourth.
With injuries up and down the midfield, Essien could certainly help kick-start the returns of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby. He’ll give Wenger more options both starting and during matches, and make managing Arteta, Wilshere and Diaby’s pitch time much simpler when they return.
A speedier, younger and possibly more attacking-minded option comes in the form of Almeria winger Edgar Mendez. The Sun reports both Arsenal and Everton are scouting the budding 23-year-old Spanish Star.
Specifically, the scouts sent to monitor Mendez have said he’s faster than Real Madrid’s lightning quick winger Gareth Bale.
Whether Arsenal or Everton pounce, it’s believed Almeria would sell off Mendez for £2 million, a more than reasonable sum to a club hoping to avoid relegation from La Liga.
Mendez finished up his youth career with Madrid and eventually moved up to the Bernabeu club’s C-team in 2008, and over the last six year’s he’s bounced around Spain’s leagues scoring 18 goals.
Another option is Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, a defender capable of helping out in both midfield and the attack as evidenced by his 16 Bundesliga goals in the last five years.
The 26-year-old’s been at the heart of transfer speculation for months, stemming from his stellar play during Germany’s World Cup run and his refusal to sign a long-term deal with Dortmund.
Also linked to Manchester United, Hummels’ availability has been up for much debate with the German side holding out hopes he would stay. However, according to Daily Star, Wenger’s plotting a deal that would send both Hummels and teammate and defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
Together, Hummels and Gundogan could cost Arsenal a combined £63 million, a lavish sum they are likely to negotiate down if any agreement is to be reached.