Arsenal may have nearly trebled their transfer record on deadline day last week, but there could yet be big money spent to further enhance the Gunners’ squad in January. Mesut Ozil’s arrival for £42.5 million finally fulfilled promises by the club this summer that they were willing and able to shop at the top end of the market. However, according to the Daily Mirror, £40 million remains in the transfer kitty to be spent when the window reopens in the New Year.
The story states that, encouraged at his determination to force through the Ozil deal, Arsenal are set to re-open negotiations with Arsene Wenger over a new contract. Some groups of Arsenal fans had called for contract talks to be put on hold after a defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, which followed what, to that point, had been a summer of disappointment in the transfer market.
But now Wenger is set to be given more money to spend. Having failed with approaches for Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, a striker is still considered Wenger’s priority, and the Liverpool forward remains very much in his thoughts, according to The Telegraph.
Arsenal made a £40 million and £1 bid for Suarez, appearing to believe, erroneously as it turned out, that it would trigger a release clause in the player’s contract. Instead, the offer just angered Liverpool and strengthened their resolve not to sell to a club that they consider rivals for a Champions League place. It is difficult to see that situation changing come January. Suarez too may be loathed to cause further drama in midseason, just five months before he will potentially be set to head to the World Cup.
Another position that Wenger tried and failed to bolster in the summer was defensive midfield. A bid of £18.5 million was rejected by Bayer Leverkusen for their Germany international Lars Bender, but the player remains on Wenger’s wanted list, reports the Mirror. Arsenal will no doubt hope that the addition of Ozil to add to an already strong contingent of Germans at the Emirates will encourage Bender, the brother of Borussia Dortmund’s Sven, to push for a switch. Whether Arsenal will be prepared to increase their bid in January, especially with the 24-year-old almost certain to be cup-tied for the Champions League is another matter.
The same problem exists with another player whom Wenger is said to be monitoring, Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. While not a natural defensive midfielder, Gundoggan has the tenacity and energy combined with his exceptional ability on the ball, to perhaps make it work. It appears likely that the 22-year-old will move on next summer, however. There has already been talk of Real Madrid attempting to line up a deal.
The third Germany international linked with the Gunners in Monday’s press is Marco Reus. An attacking midfielder who can play either from out wide or centrally, Reus would not appear to be a priority following the signing of Ozil. Yet, the Telegraph believes that the Dortmund man will be extensively scouted during the current season. It is said that both Gundogan and Reus will command around £20 million. Given the fees paid this summer, though, both could well be valued significantly higher.