With the inquest into Tuesday’s shock Capital One Cup quarterfinal defeat to fourth-tier side Bradford City still raging, talk is also turning to the players that could arrive in January to boost Arsene Wenger’s ailing squad.
Top of Wenger’s agenda in next month’s transfer window is expected to be the recruiting of a new striker. While Olivier Giroud has shown signs that he could be a success in the Premier League, the options look painfully thin behind the France international—as was shown in his absence against Bradford.
Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has long been reported as a leading target as the prolific Dutchman heads toward the expiration of his contract next summer. Speculation has suggested that Arsenal will launch a cut-price move January, with French publication L’Equipe claiming that terms had already been agreed.
But Schalke have denied any such negotiations have taken place for the 29-year-old.
"At this point, these stories are no more than fairytales to me," Schalke general manager Horst Heldt said, according to ESPN. "I have not heard anything about it."
The fact that Huntelaar remains in the Champions League with Schalke and would be cup-tied for the same competition if he were to join Arsenal, is likely to count against a move in the New Year.
Arsenal have also been linked to another striker in the same contract predicament as Huntelaar in Spain international Fernando Llorente. Unlike Huntelaar, though, Llorente has already revealed that he will definitely not be extending his deal with his current club, Athletic Bilbao.
Although the 27-year-old has said that he will leave at the end of his deal next summer, Arsenal will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with him from next month. And, despite strong reported interest from Juventus, Llorente has suggested that he is attracted by the possibility of moving to England.
"I really like the Premier League and I've mentioned on more than one occasion that it's a league which appeals to me a lot," Llorente told Sky Sports. "You never know. It's one good option in terms of my future but we'll have to wait until the end of the season to see what happens.
"It is true that we are approaching the date when I can sign for other clubs. I'm trying to keep it so that it is something which is managed by my brother and my representatives. That leaves me to focus on my football and help my team, Athletic, and nothing else, maintain focus."
There is also still ongoing speculation about the future of one of Arsenal’s own contract rebels, Theo Walcott. The England winger appears no nearer signing a new deal to keep him at the Emirates beyond next summer.
The Daily Mirror now claims that, just months are purchasing Robin van Persie, Manchester United could be set to bid for Walcott in January. It is hard to envisage the Gunners agreeing to sell another player to their long-time rivals, although they may decide that it would be better to recoup some money for the 23-year-old rather than risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season.
In other news, Arsenal may be forced to end their reported interest in Anderlecht midfielder Lucas Biglia. The Argentina international was strongly linked to the Gunners in the summer, but is now set for a move to Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, according to TalkSport.