While he never gives the impression of relishing the opening of a transfer window, Arsène Wenger faces a familiar need to add to his injury depleted squad in January. With Laurent Koscielny continuing to struggle with Achilles and calf problems, Wenger has strongly suggested that he will move to bring in a defender next month. Despite that area of the squad clearly being where Arsenal’s greatest need lies, it is three attacking players, all from Italy’s Serie A, who have featured most prominently in transfer rumors connected with the club in recent days.
One of them, Juventus’ Sebastian Giovinco, has been regularly cited as a target for the Gunners in recent times. Now with his contract set to expire in the summer, such talk has resurfaced. While there is no suggestion that Arsenal would bring in the diminutive forward in January, from that date on they could tie up a free transfer that sees him in place for next season. With Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Morata ahead of him in the pecking order, Giovinco has started just twice in Serie A this season. There has been no confirmation that the 27-year-old will end his stay at Juventus, although his agent has hinted that Arsenal could be one of his options.
“Giovinco to Arsenal? At the moment only Juventus can negotiate with him, later on however things can change since his contract is expiring,” Andrea D’Amico told Sky Italia.
Given that Arsenal are well stocked for forwards, especially ones who like to play off a main striker, like Giovinco, it would be a strange move by the Gunners. It could well be a case of an agent using Arsenal’s name to increase the negotiating power of his client.
Still, there is surely more chance of Giovinco arriving next summer than there is of the two men Metro have linked heading to the Emirates in January. The British tabloid reports that Arsenal are considering making approaches for both Napoli’s Marek Hamsik and Roma’s Mattia Destro. It is suggested that negotiations are already underway to bring Destro in for £15 million. The original source for this story appears to be a London Evening Standard report from last week which stated that Arsenal had been approached about their interest in the 23-year-old Italy international striker. In November, Destro said that he was happy to be linked to the Gunners.
There has not been any suggestion, though, that Arsenal have decided to bid for the player. With Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck already vying for the central striker berth and Yaya Sanogo in reserve, Arsenal’s money will surely be better spent elsewhere. Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell have been linked with transfers away from the Emirates in January, but neither have started a single game in the Premier League this season. And their possible exists are unlikely to open up space for either Destro or Hamsik.
After a less than glorious start to the season, the Napoli captain has been booed by his own fans in recent weeks, sparking rumors that he could soon be on the move. Metro believes Arsenal are keen, however the offensive-minded midfielder recently came out and reaffirmed his commitment to Napoli.
Away from Serie A, a report from Norway’s VG Sporten has stated that in-demand Norwegian starlet Martin Odegaard has visited Arsenal’s training ground this week. The Stromsgodest attacking midfielder became the youngest player to in the history of the European Championships in October when he came on for Norway against Bulgaria aged just 15. In the time since he has been pursued by some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Liverpool. Bayern were reported to have sealed a deal for the now 16-year-old in recent days, although his presence at Arsenal suggests his signature is still up for grabs.