With less than two weeks remaining in the January transfer window, Arsenal are continuing their pursuit of a defensive signing that manager Arsene Wenger has earmarked as a necessity this month. Following an injury to Mathieu Debuchy, which is set to rule the right-back out for three months, Wenger has made it known that he is working to add to a defensive lineup that was already short on numbers.
Reports continue to suggest that Villarreal’s Gabriel Paulista features prominently on Wenger’s list of targets. Sky Sports’ sources have now backed up talk of Arsenal’s interest in the Brazilian 24-year-old. However, they are also of the opinion that Arsenal will be required to pay his 20 million euros (£15.2 million) buyout clause. The center-back, who joined Villarreal in the summer of 2013, has previously stated that his agent has been in contact with Arsenal. Were the Gunners to meet the clause in his contract, it would match the highest fee they have ever paid for a defender, set when signing Calum Chambers last summer.
The fee would likely be significantly less should Arsenal pursue Winston Reid, however it remains to be seen whether Wenger considers West Ham United’s asking price for the New Zealand center-back value for money. Reid will be out of contract and available on a free transfer in the summer, but Arsenal’s urgency to reinforce immediately reportedly means they are willing to pay to make a transfer happen this month.
According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal are prepared to pay between £4 million and £5 million for the 26-year-old, but that is still some way short of West Ham’s £8 million asking price. Still, Arsenal’s cause could be helped if Reid, as the publication suggests, is now pushing West Ham to allow him to move to the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal’s impressive win at Manchester City on Sunday is likely to give Wenger further belief that his squad doesn’t require further immediate strengthening away from his defense. Certainly, there looks little need for the Gunners to add to their forward line. Such is Wenger’s options in attacking areas that he has allowed both Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo to go on loan this month.
It is surprising then that respectable Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Arsenal are set to meet with the agent of Roma striker Mattia Destro. The 23-year-old has had his starting appearances limited by the continued impressive displays of Roma legend Francesco Totti. But his strike rate when he does get on the pitch is mighty impressive, netting five times in Serie A this campaign. It is for that reason that Roma are thought to be extremely resistant to selling the Italy international.
Even more unlikely appears Arsenal’s mooted interest in Swansea City front man Bafetimbi Gomis. Those claims should be treated with further skepticism given that they come from Gomis’s own camp, with the former Lyon man seemingly angling for a move away from the Liberty Stadium this month. Regardless of the authenticity of the comments, the Daily Mail reports that Swansea are adamant that Gomis will not be going anywhere this month after they lost first-choice striker Wilfried Bony to Manchester City last week.