The January transfer window is almost upon us, and for Arsenal that means the chance to secure some much needed defensive reinforcement. Arsenal went into the season with just six senior defenders, and injuries, particularly a recurring complaint for Laurent Koscielny, has meant the likes of Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy filling in at center-back. Manager Arsène Wenger has revealed that signing a central defender is on his agenda next month and rumors continue to swirl as to whom tops the list of targets.
Winston Reid, whose contract at West Ham is set to expire at the end of the season, has often been mentioned as featuring prominently on Arsenal’s radar, although other sources have recently cast that belief into doubt. Still, the Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Arsenal have been consistently watching the New Zealand international and are hoping that a £4 million bid could tempt West Ham to cash in during the January transfer window.
While West Ham would risk losing the 26-year-old for nothing next summer, manager Sam Allardyce insisted earlier this month that Reid is “not going anywhere” in January, unless a crazy bid of around £20 million arrived. With West Ham currently occupying the final Champions League position, a place above Arsenal, they will surely be loathed to lose one of their key men midway through the season.
Arsenal have also been linked to Ipswich Town’s young defender Tyrone Mings and Celtic’s Dutch center-back Virgil van Dijk. Yet, the Daily Mirror has said that Wenger now has his eye on what would be a surprise target -- St Etienne’s 29=year-old uncapped French defender Loic Perrin. According to the tabloid, an offer is set to be forthcoming from the Emirates for the £6 million rated player, whose ability to operate at right back and in a holding midfield role is said to appeal to Wenger.
Arsenal’s priorities away from their defense are likely to lie at the base of their midfield. Recurring injuries for captain Mikel Arteta have left Arsenal short and, coupled with the absences of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, meant that Francis Coquelin, having only recently been called back early from a loan spell at Championship side Charlton, started against West Ham on Sunday.
Arguably, though, Arsenal have long been in need of a more physical presence in midfield. William Carvalho is one man who could provide that and, having been linked strongly with a transfer to the Gunners in January, is now a feature of rumors once more. According to reports relayed by The Independent, the Sporting Lisbon man is poised to be the subject of a £20 million bid from the Emirates. There are suggestions that the 22-year-old, who went to the World Cup with Portugal in the summer, could now be available following Sporting’s elimination from the Champions League. Still, it would be a surprise were Wenger to spend such a hefty sum in January on a player who remains raw and would doubtless need plenty of time to settle in.
Seemingly considerably more farfetched are continued reports that Arsenal will spend big to land Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan’s exclusion from PSG’s training camp in Morocco is, according to the Daily Star, a sign that the he is now on his way to the Emirates in the January transfer window. However, given the French champions paid 63 million euros (£49.4 million) to sign the 27-year-old just 18 months ago and that he is thought to earn a massive salary, it is difficult to imagine him arriving at the Emirates next month.