It appears that Arsenal are making a late dash for signings as the January transfer window draws to a close. Heading Arsene Wenger’s list of targets is still thought to be Schalke starlet Julian Draxler. Following Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Coventry City on Friday, Wenger denied claims that a deal had already been agreed to bring the 20-year-old to the Emirates. However, speculation continues that a transfer is now just a matter of time.
The Daily Mirror has reported that Arsenal are in advanced negotiations with Schalke and have offered €30 million (£24.7m) to secure Draxler. As it stands, that bid has little chance of being accepted. The player has a release clause of €45 million (37.1m), although it is only active in the summer. With Schalke in the last 16 of the Champions League, having no obligation to sell and with the knowledge that a good World Cup could increase competition for his services and push up his value even higher, there would appear little reason for Schalke to sell now. Indeed, Schalke denied on Sunday that there was any prospect of Draxler moving to the Gunners.
"You should ask Mr. Wenger, call him,” general manager Horst Heldt said, according to Sky Sports.
“There's no contact with Arsenal or any other club.
"I cannot exclude the option we will sign Cristiano Ronaldo. I don't need to talk about this. I understand why you are asking the question but all the topics you mention need to be addressed in London.”
That stance could potentially be swayed by Draxler, with the Mirror reporting that the Germany international is keen to make the move to Arsenal. While Draxler has generally operated as a left-sided attacking midfielder, it is thought that Wenger intends to turn him into a striker. It is in that area of the pitch where Arsenal are certainly in most need of strengthening.
Mirko Vucinic is one forward who is available and Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport believes that the Juventus man would be open to joining Arsenal. A swap move fell apart last week involving Vucinic and Internazionale’s Fredy Guarin, but, with the Montenegrin seeing his first-team opportunities limited following the arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, he could still move on before the close of the transfer window.
Meanwhile, Portuguese publication O Jogo has claimed that Arsenal have opened talks about signing Benfica forward Rodrigo. It is said that the final say now rests with Wenger to decide whether to push ahead with a deal for the Spain Under-21 international. Rodrigo, 22, who is also thought to be interesting Valencia and Zenit St Petersburg, has scored seven goals in 14 appearances in the Portuguese Liga for Benfica this season.
Weneger may also have been alerted by the absence from Bayern Munich’s squad last Friday of striker Mario Mandzukic. According to Bayern’s sporting director Matthias Sammer, the Croatia international, reportedly unhappy with the agreement to sign Robert Lewandowski in the summer, was left out due to not working hard enough in training. Arsenal were linked with the Champions League winner when the signing of Lewandowski was announced, although it still remains likelier that he will move on in the summer rather than this month.