Several top performers have returned to Arsenal after some injury concerns, leaving manager Arsene Wenger with arguably his strongest squad in months. Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott are already back, and Jack Wilshere is expected to re-emerge shortly.
But as the January transfer window enters its final week, the Gunners are still weighing several options as the fifth place club attempts to rise up Premier League and snag a Champions League berth. Specifically, recent speculation has Wenger focusing on the back line and in goal.
According to Daily Mail, Arsenal are already making plans on finding a new top keeper to replace Wojciech Szczesny and that could come in the form of Fiorentina goalkeeper Norberto Neto.
Szczesny was pulled in favor of David Ospina in the last two EPL matches, and both were resounding victories including last week’s 2-0 triumph over Manchester City. There have been questions surrounding Szczesny's off-the-field behavior in recent weeks.
Neto would be the presumed long-term replacement for Szczesny, who seems unlikely to exercise patience while on the bench as a reserve and would probably seek a trip away from Emirates. Liverpool and Juventus are also reportedly scouting Neto, which could only drive up the Brazilian’s current market value of £7.5 million.
As for who possibly plays in front of Neto, Wenger’s reportedly set his sights on both Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista and Ipswich defender Tyrone Mings.
A move for Paulista, a 24-year-old Brazilian center back who has appeared in 37 matches over the last year and a half, is only being held up by a work permit, according to Daily Star. Adding Paulista instantly creates depth behind right back Mathieu Debuchy upon his return, and for Mike Arteta in the defensive midfield, all for roughly £8 million.
But while Paulista’s signature seems imminent, Arsenal face some stiff competition from Newcastle over Mings. Earlier this week the Gunners were in the lead for Mings, but his exceptional play over the last year has made him a target on both the domestic and international stage, Daily Mail reported. With Wenger's defense in better shape, and with the impending arrival of Paulista, adding Mings seems unlikely.