Arsenal continued their impressive start to the season on Sunday as they recovered from a goal down to earn a well-deserved point at the home of Premier League champions Manchester City and the Gunners could be set to capitalize with the addition of some big names in January.
Manager Arsene Wenger indicated last month that he had money to spend and would do so either before the end of the summer transfer window or in January. The Sun has now made the claim that the extent of the finances at Wenger’s disposal is a mouth-watering £50 million.
It would be foolhardy to suggest that anything like that sum will be spent with the opening of the next transfer window—when players’ valuations tend to be exaggerated and many of the best players are cup-tied for the Champions League. However, there would certainly seem to be a possibility that Wenger could land a marquee signing to try and spur Arsenal on to land a major trophy.
One name that has again been linked to the Gunners over the weekend is Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente. Arsenal have joined Chelsea, Manchester city, Juventus and Milan in pursuit of the Spain international, according to Metro.
Llorente has less than a year remaining on his contract at the San Mames and has received a hostile reception from his own club’s supporters for his failure to sign a new deal. Athletic refused to negotiate from Llorente’s €36 million (£28.7m) release clause, in the summer, but with the 27-year-old able to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club from January, Athletic may well accept a cut-price fee.
Arsenal are also said to be looking to Spain for another target—Isco. The Malaga attacking midfielder is thought to be in high demand, especially with his club’s recent financial troubles. Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus are also interested, according to the Daily Mirror.
The Spain Under-21 international further enhanced his speculation recently and sparked a new round of speculation over his future with two superb goals as Malaga kicked off their Champions League campaign with victory over Zenit St Petersburg.
Arsenal are also said to be interested in Fulham defender Brede Hangeland, according to Metro. The Norwegian has often been linked to the Gunners in the past and with the 31-year-old out of contract in the summer, Metro claims that Arsenal are monitoring his situation.
It would seem an unlikely move for Wenger at this stage, however. Arsenal’s defense has begun the season in impressive manner, with Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny all impressing.
Much of the focus in January is also likely to be on current Arsenal winger Theo Walcott. The England international has entered the final year of his contract at the Emirates having failed to agree terms on a new deal.
Wenger has said that the next couple of months will be crucial to deciding the 23-year-old’s future.
"I still hope to sign him and the next two months will be vital because after that, the longer this situation lasts, then the more difficult it is," Wenger said, according to Sky Sports.
"Let's hope we can find a solution in the next two months."
Wenger was then asked whether he would contemplate selling Walcott in the next transfer window.
"It will depend on the needs of the team and the club,” he admitted.
"We can afford to go to the end [of the contract] if needed."