After Arsenal suffered another away defeat to one of the Premier League’s big guns at the weekend, there is continued speculation that Arsene Wenger will seek to strengthen his squad when the transfer window reopens in January. Although they didn’t experience the same humiliation as at Stamford Bridge last season, Arsenal still came up short against title rivals Chelsea in a 2-0 defeat. When Eden Hazard accelerated through a stream of players en route to winning a penalty to open the scoring, it was hard not to think that Arsenal would have benefited from the arrival of a commanding midfield presence in the summer.
During the last transfer window Sami Khedira was keenly linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium. The German World Cup winner is in the final year of his contract at Real Madrid and has so far declined the chance to sign a new deal. His future remains uncertain, with the possibility that he could leave on a transfer in January or agree a deal with another club to move for nothing next summer. The Daily Star has reported that Arsenal have agreed to pay Khedira £100,000 a week, with the only stumbling block now convincing Madrid to sell. Some skepticism should be attached to the story, however, given that it was widely reported in the summer that Khedira was demanding in excess of £150,000 a week. Were he to let his contract run down his bargaining power would be increased further.
Khedira is not the only member of the victorious Germany squad in Brazil to be linked with a move to Arsenal of late. Julian Draxler was the subject of strong interest from the Gunners in January and that appears to have now been revived, with the Daily Mirror reporting that Arsenal scouts watched the Schalke attacking midfielder during his side’s Champions League clash with Maribor last week.
Draxler stated in the summer that he wanted to stay at the Bundesliga club for at least another year, although Arsenal could test that commitment in January. Schalke have had a poor start to the season and recently dismissed coach Jens Keller, announcing former Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo as his replacement. Still, it is difficult to envisage signing a player of Draxler’s characteristics being a priority for Arsenal at this time.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have been linked with a move for two forwards in January. According to the Daily Express, Wenger is considering bringing in either Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac or Juventus’ diminutive Sebastian Giovinco. Under coach Marcelo Bielsa, Gignac has been a key part of Marseille’s fine start to the season, scoring nine goals in as many games for the Ligue 1 leaders. Yet the 28-year-old would be a surprising acquisition for Arsenal, given the presence of Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud as well as Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell. The same is true of Giovinco, despite the fact that, like Gignac, his contract is set to expire at the end of the season. Giovinco, 27, generally operates off a central striker, a position in which Arsenal are well stocked. He started just six times in Serie A last season and has been in the lineup just once so far this campaign.