It is widely thought that Arsenal are still exploring options to add to their forward ranks in the January transfer window. Injuries to Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner have left the Gunners even more reliant on first-choice striker Olivier Giroud to stay fit as the club continues their push to end a long wait for silverware. However, there has been much speculation in recent days that Arsene Wenger is also looking at ways to strengthen other areas of his squad.
Arsenal have again been linked with a move for Schalke starlet Julian Draxler. The Daily Star has picked up on quotes from former Norway striker Jan Aage Fjortoft, now a television pundit in Germany, who has stated his belief, informed by his contacts, that the attacking midfielder is most likely to wind up at the Emirates. It is claimed that Draxler and Wenger have conversed, although a move seems highly unlikely to happen in this month’s transfer window.
The 20-year-old Germany international has a release clause of €45 million (£37.5m), but it is only enforceable during the summer. Quite where Draxler would fit in the current Arsenal side would be interesting given the wealth of options Arsenal already possess to occupy their three attacking midfield positions. One vacancy could have been provided by the departure of Tomas Rosicky, who is out of contract in the summer. Yet, Wenger insists that the 33-year-old will remain with the club.
"Tomas Rosicky will stay here at the end of the season," Wenger said, according to Sky Sports. "He is a marvelous player and contributes well to the team.”
There has been little suggestion of late that Wenger intends to renew his interest in Yohan Cabaye this month, having failed with a bid for the midfielder in the summer. Still, website Caught Offside has emerged with the bold claim that not only will Arsenal look to sign Cabaye but that they will also make an attempt to secure his Newcastle United teammate Davide Santon in a combined £30 million deal.
Such speculation sounds incredibly farfetched. Arsenal now appear well stocked in central midfield, especially in a creative sense, with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Santon appears an even more unlikely acquisition. The story suggests that Wenger sees Santon as a potential replacement for Bacary Sagna, who has yet to sign an extension to a contract that expires at the end of this season. However, while primarily right footed, the Italy international has spent almost his entire career playing at left-back -- a position where Arsenal already have Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, and in some situations Thomas Vermaelen.
With an eye to the future, Arsenal are reported to be one of the clubs trailing Atletico Madrid’s 19-year-old midfielder Saul Niguez. According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal have already had talks with representatives of the Spain Under-21 international. Yet, competition is thought to come from Barcelona and Chelsea, with the Blues said to have watched the player in action on Sunday during his loan spell at La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. Niguez has been deployed primarily as a defensive midfielder this season, but has also played in the center of defense.