The next six weeks will be very interesting for Arsenal, as the famed north London club strive to make a top-four finish in the Premier League, with the January transfer window looming.
Arsene Wenger's squad lead Group F of Champions League and look poised to advance to the knockout round, so particular focus will likely be placed on Premier League home matches against West Bromwich, Fulham, Everton, Wolverhampton, and Queens Park Rangers, and away matches at Norwich, Wigan, Manchester City, and Aston Villa.
The most glaring of those matches will certainly be undefeated Manchester City, who have a five-point lead against second-place Manchester United. The seventh-place Gunners are also looking up at Newcastle, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool, on the Premier League table.
Wenger apparently has a number of players on his radar that may find their way to Emirates in time to face tougher competition starting in 2012.
Lukas Podolski remains the most prominent name linked to the Gunners by the British press. The 26-year-old German forward, who has 43 goals for the national squad, would provide Wenger with an excellent goal-scoring option. The current attack appears to be too dependant on Robin van Persie, and the Koln star would be an insurance policy against a van Persie injury, or the unlikely possibility of van Persie moving on to another club should he not sign a contract extension.
A club-record £20 million deal for Podolski would likely signal the end of Marouane Chamakh's Arsenal career. The 27-year-old striker has been viewed as a disappointment, but Metro reported that Sevilla have put in a £7 million bid. The Guardian's Scott Murray referred to Chamakh as a nobody earlier this month, but some clubs outside the Premier League think more highly of the Moroccan.
Lille, Paris St Germain, Roma, and Marseille have been linked to Chamakh in recent weeks. Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud went public with his desire to bring Chamakh back to Bordeaux.
In the last two months I have been leaving messages with Marouane, said Triaud, to a local radio station, according to ESPN. I also left messages with Arsene Wenger but I got no answer.
His silence shows probably that he still hopes he will make it at Arsenal.
Wenger tends to favor Ligue 1 players, and may reignite talks to add Rennes defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila. The 21-year-old has other reported suitors, which include Real Madrid and Chelsea. In August, Daily Mirror linked M'Vila to Arsenal in a potential £15 million bid.
Should Arsenal decide on a less expensive option over M'Vila, they may turn to 23-year-old Etienne Capoue. The Sun reported that the Gunners are preparing a £10 million bid for the Toulouse defensive midfielder, as M'Vila's price tag could reach £25 million.
M'Vila's midfield teammate at Rennes, Tongo Hamed Doumbia, is valued at £8 million, and Arsenal have shown interest, according to Daily Mail. The tall, 22-year-old has been getting steady playing time in recent weeks for Rennes.
Arsenal are targeting Borussia Monchengladbach winger Marco Reus, according to Daily Mirror. Manchester City have also shown interest in the £15 million-rated 22-year-old, who has three caps for Germany.
Wenger has shown a penchant for grooming young players for stardom, and two new names have surfaced this month.
Arsenal are competing with Tottenham and Valencia over Le Havre teenager Jeremy Balmy, reported Daily Mirror. Wenger is also monitoring midfielder Paul Pogba's contract talks with Manchester United, but Inter Milan and AC Milan are also targeting the 18-year-old French prodigy.