Currently level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, there is reason to believe that there won’t be the annual frenzy for Arsenal to bolster their squad in the January transfer window. Not all has gone smoothly for Arsene Wenger’s side, however. Their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League are hanging by a thread and they have had to deal with an all-too familiar injury crisis in recent weeks.
Regardless of whether Arsenal decide to strengthen their squad, there is next to no chance of Lionel Messi being one of the players to come in. The very idea of Messi signing for the Gunners at any point in the near future is far-fetched in the extreme, yet that very idea has been floated by the Daily Star this week. The tabloid claims that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all chasing the Barcelona star, but that it is the Emirates Stadium which is his preferred destination if he opts to leave the Camp Nou.
There has been some speculation over Messi’s future, not least because of an investigation by the Spanish authorities into alleged tax fraud. However, even were that unlikely scenario to come to pass, it is extremely difficult to envisage Arsenal paying what would be a world record transfer fee, as well as wages that the Daily Star state would be £600,000 a week. Indeed, the most appropriate response to the claims is surely that of one Arsenal fan who has amusingly started a campaign to find 599,999 other fans willing to pay Messi £1 a week if he signed for the Gunners.
There appears to be only slightly more seriousness behind another piece of speculation involving Arsenal in recent days. Edinson Cavani has long been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, amid reported unhappiness at having to play second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Yet his place at the club would now appear to be more secure, with Ibrahimovic expected to leave next summer.
Still, the Daily Express reports that Cavani has been particularly shaken by the Paris terror attacks last week and had reservations about returning to the city from international duty with Uruguay. Now Arsenal are said to be intensifying their pursuit of the striker. Chelsea have also been credited with an interest, however players of Cavani’s stature rarely move in the January transfer window.
If Arsenal do decide to add to their squad, though, it could well be up front. Wenger’s shortage of top-class options in that position has been exposed of late, with injuries to Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck leaving the Gunners to depend on Olivier Giroud. Those issues may well be behind stories that Arsenal are monitoring Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi. The Belgium international has scored eight goals in 13 Ligue Un appearances this season and Marseille president Vincent Labrune recently suggested that any club would have to pay 50 million euros (£35 million) to secure his signature. Talksport reports that Chelsea, along with Arsenal, are keen on the 22-year-old.
Meanwhile, rumors are continuing that Arsenal are keen on promising Juventus center-back Daniele Rugani. The 21-year-old returned from a loan spell at Empoli this summer, but has made just one short substitute appearance, leading to speculation that he could be tempted by a move away. Citing stories in Italy, the Independent reports that Arsenal and Manchester United are keen on adding him to their squads in the January transfer window. That seems unlikely, however. Rugani has commented that he is willing to wait for his chance, while Juventus are thought to have no intention of allowing a highly rated prospect to depart.