Arsenal secured a welcome victory over Sunderland on Saturday but concerns still hang over the Emirates Stadium which could prompt Arsène Wenger to reenter the transfer market in January. At the Stadium of Light, Wenger was again compelled to field a makeshift defense, featuring Nacho Monreal at center-back, after revealing that he couldn’t be sure when Laurent Koscielny would return from an Achilles injury.
“I cannot give you any date because we go day-by-day with him at the moment,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “I hope that after the next international break he will be available again. Before that I don’t think so.”
Koscielny has been absent since his long-term problem was spotted to have deteriorated while on international duty with France earlier this month. His absence has exposed the limited defensive options with which Wenger entered the season. The Arsenal boss has already revealed that he will look to add another central defender in January, with various options continuing to be linked.
The Daily Mirror believes that West Ham’s Winston Reid features prominently on Wenger’s list of targets. A former Denmark Under-21 international, Reid moved to Upton Park after impressing for New Zealand at the 2010 World Cup. After a slow start he has become a key figure for West Ham, which are understandably keen to keep him beyond the expiration of his current contract next summer. But, according to the Mirror, Arsenal have sent scouts to report on the 26-year-old in recent weeks and are keen to bring him to the Emirates in a cut-price transfer in January.
Also in the tabloid’s story is the claim that Arsenal are also scouting Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk. It is not the first time the 23-year-old former Groningen man has been linked with becoming the latest player to leave the Glasgow giants. And the former Netherlands Under-21 international recently suggested that he would be keen on a move to the Gunners.
“Arsenal is an amazing club, of course,” Van Dijk said, per the Daily Express. “It's a big club with a great history as well. I have ambitions, of course, like every player.”
If Wenger decides not to stop his transfer business at adding a center-back, then there is a good chance that the next target on his list will be a physically commanding midfielder. Neither Mathieu Flamini nor Mikel Arteta have excelled at the start of the season, only prompting further rumors that Arsenal will make another move for Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira in January.
Arsenal are said to have balked at plans to sign the German World Cup winner in the summer after discovering his hefty wage demands. The 27-year-old has still to agree a contract extension to keep him at the Champions League holders beyond the summer. With Khedira able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement to leave on a free transfer in January, his bargaining power is only increasing. Yet Metro has reported that he has now lowered his wage demands to £80,000, almost down to half what it was reported he was asking for a few months ago.
Given his pedigree, it is difficult to think that he would settle for such a figure. Yet there is some good news for Arsenal, with Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani recently stating that Khedira would be out of the Italians’ price range.
After the summer signings of Alexis Sánchez and Danny Welbeck there appears no pressing need for Arsenal to further strengthen in attacking areas. Yet, Barcelona’s wide forward Pedro continues to be linked with a transfer to the Gunners, with the Daily Express now suggesting that the Spain international has handed in a transfer request. The 27-year-old’s first-team chances are set to be further reduced by the now suspension-free Luis Suárez.