The reopening of the transfer window may still be over two months away, but speculation is in full swing as to how Arsenal will address a squad clearly in need of bolstering. With injuries having laid bare Arsenal’s thin defensive resources, manager Arsène Wenger has already revealed that he will push to sign a center-back in January. In a 2-2 draw with Hull City at the weekend, Nacho Monreal was forced to deputize in the heart of the backline, while teenager Calum Chambers is expected to do likewise in Champions League action against Anderlecht on Wednesday.
It is far from an ideal scenario for a club with ambitions to land the biggest trophies. As ever, though, there remains a question of how much money Arsenal will be prepared to spend in order to correct their clear deficiencies. Building on stories from last week, the Daily Mail reports that Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels is Arsenal’s clear number one target for January. They also believe that the Gunners would be prepared to meet the £32 million currently being touted around in the media as his asking price. It is thought, however, that Arsenal would have to compete with fellow-suitors Manchester United over personal terms for the 25-year-old.
It continues to look a deal that is unlikely to come to fruition, especially in mid-season. Hummels, who has had a poor start to the season following his influential role in helping Germany to lift the world Cup, only recent stated his love for Dortmund and desire to remain there for the long-term. While Dortmund have had a disastrous opening to the Bundesliga campaign, that position is unlikely to have shifted dramatically. And Dortmund, too, would have little reason to sell one of their most influential players.
It still seems more likely that Arsenal will look to the lower end of the market to boost their defense, and, rather than splashing out on an established star, bring in someone prepared to sit behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the pecking order for the time being. Leicester City center-back Liam Moore could fit that bill. According to The Sun, Arsenal, as well as Manchester City, have had the England Under-21 international watched recently. Moore, who is said to be valued at £10 million, has caught the eye since Leicester’s return to the Premier League this season.
As well as in defense, there also remains a clear need for a defensively minded midfielder. Arsenal continue to be linked to Sami Khedira and now there are fresh rumors about another long-reported Arsenal target. The Daily Mirror believes Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin who is Arsenal’s top transfer target heading into January. A fine season in the Premier League last term earned the 24-year-old a place in the France squad for the World Cup as well as particularly strong interest in a transfer from Tottenham. Indeed, Schneiderlin publicly expressed his frustration that he was not allowed to follow several of his former teammates in leaving the south-coast club. Yet, given how well Southampton have started the season — currently lying third in the Premier League — it would be unlikely were there any urgency to force through a January transfer.
Even more surprising speculation comes from Spain and has been picked up on by several British publications. According to Fichajes.net, Arsenal have rekindled their interest in Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuaín. The Gunners were heavily linked to Higuaín before he left Real Madrid for Napoli in the summer of 2013. Higuaín appears to have been hit particularly hard by Napoli’s defeat in the Champions League playoff round and has yet to score in Serie A this season. However, having just signed Danny Welbeck and with Olivier Giroud set to return from injury, it is difficult to imagine Arsenal spending big to bring him to London.