There is heightened anticipation surrounding Arsenal as January comes to a close, yet Arsène Wenger has revealed that it is “very unlikely” he will further add to his squad before Monday’s transfer deadline. After bringing in 17-year-old Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik, the Arsenal manager completed the signing of Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal earlier this week. Despite having previously suggested that Gabriel would not necessarily be his last action of the January transfer window, Wenger now believes his squad is strong enough to cope for the rest of the season.
“If I wake up in the morning, somebody stands in front of my door and is an exceptional player, I will open the door,” he said at his press conference ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Aston Villa on Sunday. “But it looks very unlikely now. Number wise we look all right now. And quality as well.”
There remains, however, plenty of speculation that Arsenal’s work is not yet done. The Gunners also saw several outgoings this summer, with forward trio Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell all heading out on loan until the end of the season. Previously blessed with adequate depth in the attacking department, a few injuries could now potentially see Arsenal short on options. Perhaps that is the logic behind rumors that Arsenal are eying up a couple of Europe’s most renowned strikers.
One of those, according to a reports, is the Argentina international who came close to moving to the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2013, Gonzalo Higuaín. Instead of joining Arsenal, Higuaín left Real Madrid for Napoli. Despite claims earlier in the season that the 27-year-old was disenchanted at the Italian club, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has insisted that Higuaín won’t be going anywhere.
“I have no intention of selling Higuaín,” he told Sky Sport 24, according to the Daily Star. “We are strengthening the team and will buy other reinforcements.”
Rumors have also resurfaced of Arsenal’s interest in Mario Mandžukić. The Gunners were thought to be keen on the Croatia striker before he left Bayern Munich for Atlético Madrid last summer. Despite scoring 15 goals so far for his new club, his place has come under threat in recent weeks from the returning Fernando Torres. Indeed, he was left out of the side for recent high-profile matches against Real Madrid and Barcelona. Still, there appears little credence to the Daily Express report, based on stories in Spain, that he is interesting Arsenal and Manchester City, given that City have just spent big on former Swansea striker Wilfried Bony. It is highly doubtful, too, that Arsenal will be prepared to put down a large fee on an out-and-out striker, given the presence of Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck.
It seems just as farfetched at this stage that Arsenal could sign Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, as respected French sports publication L’Equipe suggests. Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation has come under the spotlight in recent weeks following performance and disciplinary issues surrounding previous No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny, with Colombian David Ospina taking over between the posts. While it is possible that Wenger will look to upgrade in the summer and Lloris has proven himself one of the Premier League’s best stoppers, the rivalry between the clubs mean it is extremely difficult to envisage Tottenham being prepared to sell one of their leading players to the Gunners.