Arsenal are once more heading into the final hours of the transfer window under pressure to make signings. The Gunners entered deadline day with the second highest net spend of all Premier League clubs, at close to £45 million. And, with additions like Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez, there has been plenty of cause for optimism as manager Arsene Wenger appeared to have learned his lesson and got his business done early. Yet the squad remains thin at center-back and there remains an obvious lack of a strong holding midfielder. Coupled with those needs, an injury that has ruled Olivier Giroud for the rest of 2014 has exposed a lack of depth in the striking department. Yet, after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Sunday, Wenger still remained noncommittal on whether there would be arrivals on Monday.
“I don't want to promise you what I am not sure to hold,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “I've worked long enough in England to know I don't like to promise what I'm not 100 per cent sure of as it doesn't depend on me. Is the amount of money we spend unlimited? No, because that's not the way we manage the club. We always try to make the right decision and we have the resources if we think it's the right player.”
There is little doubt he is in the market for new signings, however. Here are five who could yet arrive.
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
A strong, quick striker, with underrated technical ability, Welbeck would appear to make sense for Arsenal, although his strike-rate could certainly be more impressive. Manchester United have made him available as they continue the overhaul of their squad and Arsenal are thought to now be doing battle with Tottenham to secure his signature before the transfer window shuts. While United might see Tottenham as less of a direct rival and therefore a preferable destination Welbeck, the London Evening Standard has reported that the player has remained at Arsenal’s London Colney base after training there with England earlier in the day as he seeks to “force through” a transfer to the Gunners. And, according to Sky Sports, Welbeck was undergoing a medical with the Gunners on Monday evening.
Matija Nastasić (Manchester City)
According to The Manchester Evening News, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle United and Marseille are all keen on taking the Serbian defender before the deadline, after he was made available by Manchester City. Given those choice of clubs, there is a good chance that Nastasić would prefer a move to the Emirates, providing he was offered the prospect of first-team action. Yet City may be less keen on that deal, if they see Arsenal as their biggest direct threats. Available at a reasonable price, the 21-year-old former Fiorentina center-back would be a fine addition, having impressed greatly before injuries hindered his development at the Etihad.
Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa)
As Arsenal continue to search forlornly for an extra center-back following the departure of Thomas Vermaelen, reports have surfaced that they have made an inquiry for Vlaar. The 29-year-old has hardly set the Premier League alight since joining Aston Villa two years ago, but his repuation was greatly enhanced following a fine World Cup, especially when putting in a superb performance in keeping Lionel Messi quiet in the semifinals. Vlaar’s agent, though, has said that there is no truth to the rumors and that he will be staying at Villa Park for the remaining year of his contract.
William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
Rated as one of Europe’s top young midfielders, the 22-year-old member of Portugal’s World Cup squad has been strongly linked with Arsenal and long-term suitors Manchester United. Carvalho failed to confirm he would be staying at Sporting Lisbon as recently as Sunday, and The Guardian’s Ed Aarons has reported that a transfer to Arsenal remains alive. Much could depend on just how much Sporting are willing to lower their demands, having started the summer by wanting his €45 million (£36m) release clause met. But with third-party ownership involved, it may ultimately prove too complicated a deal to complete before the deadline.
Carlos Bacca (Sevilla)
Reports surfaced in recent days that Arsenal had made an inquiry with Sevilla for their Colombian striker Carlos Bacca. It is easy to see why, with the 27-year-old having scored 14 goals in La Liga last season. But Sevilla are in no way eager to offload Bacca and club president José Castro said on Monday that they had received no offers for him and would not listen to any. Wenger also played down the reports on Sunday. “I can give you my phone and in the next 24 hours you will see that you get plenty of people offered from all over the world,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website.