Mesut Ozil was only officially unveiled as an Arsenal player on Thursday, but thoughts are already turning to how the club can further strengthen their squad when the transfer window reopens in January.
After being signed for a club record £42.5 million on transfer deadline day, Ozil has now been able to join up with his new teammates following the international break. At the German star’s first press conference, manager Arsene Wenger suggested that the club was now in a position to make regular big-money signings.
“I fight for the teams to spend the money they had made and not the money they have artificially earned,” he said, according to Arsenal.com. “Once they have made that money I am happy to spend it. As you know as well, what is very important for us is to find world-class players. There are not plenty around.
“We had to go through some years when I signed a long-term contract where we had some restricted financial potential. And the target was to stay in the Champions League in this period and we managed to do it. We are now in a strong position financially.”
There are reports, though, that Arsenal’s next signing could cost nothing at all. The Daily Star has claimed that Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool are all in the running to sign Japan international Keisuke Honda when his contract expires at CSKA Moscow in January. The attacking midfielder was strongly linked with a move to Milan this summer and, while a deal didn’t happen then, the chances remain high that he will be heading the San Siro on a free transfer. Honda, though, has explained that he is keeping his options open.
“I have many choices, but I want to compare as much as possible,” he said. "I don't think there's a chance I will stay in Russia. I just need to focus on the Russian league and the Champions League, so I don't want to talk about this right now."
It seems somewhat fanciful to link the 27-year-old with a move to the Emirates, however. With Arsenal now having Ozil, Cazorla and Rosicky to pull the strings behind a striker, Honda would be a surprise addition.
A position that Wenger is more likely to strengthen is right-back. Bacary Sagna has yet to sign an extension to a contract that expires at the end of the season and the Gunners have been linked to several replacements during the summer. One of those was Sochaux’s Sebastien Corchia. The 23-year-old is also said to be interesting Marseille and, when asked about a possible move, Corchia admitted that he could soon be moving on.
"I know what I have to do now during matches and I will see what happens in the next windows,” he told French publication L’Equipe. "But at the moment, I want to work with my club. [Leaving in the winter] can be a possibility, Sochaux negotiate with interested clubs. I prefer to focus on the present at the moment."
Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in Barcelona right-back Martin Montoya. The 22-year-old has yet to sign an extension to his current deal, meaning that he could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season. And the Spain Under-21 international’s agent has fuelled speculation that he could be set to leave the Camp Nou.
"For the moment he is under contract with FC Barcelona until the end of the season,” Jose Maria Orobitg told Sky italia, according to the Daily Express. "However, the contract extension has still not arrived. "We have talked but there is no certainty that Martin Montoya would hold down a first-team spot, because right now Daniel Alves closes the door. The transfer window is closed, but I can tell you that the contract extension may not be successful. In the past, Inter Milan, Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund and Liverpool were interested. Anything could happen between now and June."
Arsenal have been linked with another right-back whose contract expires next summer in Napoli’s Juan Camilo Zuniga. According to Talksport, Napoli are believed to be keen to keep the Colombia international, however the Serie A side may well be forced to sell him in January if no new deal is agreed upon. And Arsenal could well be set to make a move.