The January transfer window may have just come to a close, but there is little doubt that clubs will already be giving consideration to the players who could reinvigorate their squads in the summer. Recent speculation suggests that is very much the case with Arsenal.
Arsène Wenger addressed his squad’s most pressing need in January by bringing in Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal to bolster his previously meager options in the center of defense. Yet despite that deal, the Daily Mirror reports that Wenger is planning on making a further defensive addition before the start of next season. The tabloid reports that the Gunners, along with Manchester United, are monitoring Schalke’s World Cup winner Benedikt Höwedes.
The 26-year-old has made his name as a center-back in Gelsenkirchen, but has also operated at right-back and left-back, which is where he was deployed throughout Germany’s victorious run in Brazil last summer. It may be that versatility that appeals to Wenger, although it would be a surprise were he to splash out on another defender so soon after the arrival of Gabriel. Still, Höwedes is not the only defender linked with the Gunners this week. A story in the Daily Star suggests that Arsenal are in prime position to sign Espanyol center-back Hector Moreno.
The 27-year-old has been an impressive performer for club and country in recent seasons, but has only just returned to action after breaking his leg in Mexico’s defeat to Netherlands at last year’s World Cup. He will also be out of contract in the summer of 2016, which perhaps explains the claim that he will be available for as little as £5 million.
Perhaps more likely is that a defensive midfielder is targeted. Although 17-year-old Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik was signed in the January transfer window, Wenger opted against signing an established player to fill what has been a problem position for Arsenal in recent times. Last summer the Premier League club were linked strongly with Sami Khedira, as the German entered the final year of his contract at Real Madrid. While he remains with the Spanish giants, he has yet to sign a new deal and can now agree a free transfer with a club outside of Spain. Arsenal would be expected to have an interest, but, according to the Daily Express, which cites unnamed reports in Spain, Khedira has already agreed a deal with Bayern Munich.
It seems unlikely that signing a forward will be among Wenger’s priorities for the next transfer window. Such is the wealth of his options in attacking areas, the Arsenal boss allowed Lukas Podolski, Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo to leave on loan in January. Thus, despite the Daily Star’s hinting to the contrary, Arsenal are unlikely to have real interest in Porto striker Jackson Martinez’s recent suggestion that he may be on the move in the summer.
“Right now I only focus on doing my job with Porto, but I'm ready to make the leap in the next window,” he said. “I have my head focused only on the work I'm doing at Porto at the moment and when the transfer window reopens, we shall see what will happen.”
Martinez, a Colombia international, has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, having been a prolific scorer since moving to Portugal in 2012.