Speculation as to who will be joining the likes of Mesut Ozil and Mathieu Flamini during the January transfer window has been rife. Even though the Gunners have looked very good so far this season, there is still room for improvement and those improvements could come in any position.
World Soccer Talk has taken a look at the players Arsenal has been linked with, what these players could bring to the table and whether or not there’s an actual chance of them coming over to North London.
1. Paul Pogba
Position: Central Midfielder
If you’ve never seen Paul Pogba play before then I’d say he’s the closest thing France have had to Patrick Vieira in a long, long time. Of course, many believed current Gunner Abou Diaby would take over from Patrick Vieira for both Arsenal and France but injuries have seriously hampered his progress during his young years and there are serious doubts among most fans whether or not he can truly fulfill his potential.
Pogba is a more complete player than Diaby though. Aggressive, technically efficient, incredibly strong, it’s quite scary that he’s only 20 years old. A former Manchester United player, Pogba already knows what it’s like to play in England, although his time at Old Trafford is limited. With Mikel Arteta’s career winding down and Aaron Ramsey finding more success in an advance role, Pogba would be a perfect midfield partner to Flamini. Not only would he provide extra defensive assurance to our fantastic attack, he can also join in attacks and grab himself a goal too.
Likelihood of player joining Arsenal: With Juventus president Andrea Agnelli admitting that Juventus would have to consider a big offer for a player like Pogba, there’s a chance Arsenal could get him. It truly depends on whether or not Mr Wenger thinks he’s worth the money. 6/10.
2. Ricardo van Rhijn
Position: Right back/Centre back
Even though Arsenal’s defense have looked very good this season, with the likes of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs being particularly impressive, a little bit more depth would do us well. It looks increasingly likely that Bacary Sagna will be leaving at the end of the season, so it would probably be best to get a player now instead of waiting. Carl Jenkinson has looked good this season but it doesn’t feel as if Wenger has full trust in him yet, that’s where a player like Ricardo van Rhijn could come into play.
Firstly, he’s versatile, which is always good to have in your team. Adept at playing right back and centre back his positioning is pretty good. He’s very composed and knows how to defend and attack without difficulty, such is the Dutch way. He also has international experience, and for a player of his age to break into one of the best squads in the world already should speak volumes of what people think of him.
Likelihood of player joining Arsenal: Arsenal isn’t the only club interested in getting van Rhijn’s signature, with a host of Italian clubs and Premier League rival Chelsea. However with Dennis Bergkamp at Ajax, the former Gunner could convince his fellow Dutchman to come to Arsenal. 6/10.
3. Fernando Llorente
Even though Olivier Giroud has absolutely played his heart out s far this season and has also had a significant amount of goal support from Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal are in dire need of some support up front. Fernando Llorente has been a name continuously thrown about, even though he’s only just moved to Juventus this season.
With 135 goals in 384 career appearances, Llorente isn’t the most prolific of strikers, but like Giroud his team play is magnificent. He is very much a complete forward, providing balls for the midfielder and troubling defences with his strength in the air.
Likelihood of player joining Arsenal: He’s only just joined Juventus so it’s hard to figure out whether or not a move could be made, but like Paul Pogba, for the right money Juventus could most definitely sell him. 4/10.
4. Julian Draxler
At 20 years old, Julian Draxler’s potential is still relatively unknown, but what we do know right now is that he’s one of the best attacking talents to come out of Germany in recent times, which is strong praise considering the Germany has been churning out incredible players as of late, including recent Arsenal signee Mesut Ozil.
Both footed and with a sharp eye for the goal, Draxler nearest comparison would be former Gunner Samir Nasri. Like Nasri he also has a quick turn of pace and he also has exquisite passing. One thing about him is that he’d fit in with the Arsenal way of football instantly. He’s incredibly unselfish and is a real team player. If he can continue to grow as a player, we could be looking at someone who could be one of the best players in the world.
Likelihood of player joining Arsenal: Draxler has a number of suitors around Europe and if Arsenal were to make a bid, they would be in for a serious battle. Draxler has mentioned that he dreams of playing for one of Europe’s top clubs, and considering Arsenal currently has a very strong German contingent he could very well be tempted to join the German revolution that is happening right now at Arsenal. 6/10
5. Saido Berahino
As mentioned when talking about Fernando Llorente, Arsenal is in desperate need of back up for Olivier Giroud. Llorente could be a significant long shot, but West Brom’s Saido Berahino could very well be a decent alternative.
He’s in the last year of his contract with West Brom, he’s only on £850-per-week and more importantly, he’s completely burst onto the scene out of nowhere and announced himself as a near-certain future star for England.
When he played against Arsenal in the league cup he scored a lovely goal, and when they played Arsenal in the league he and Sessegnon gave the defence fits. He’s strong, very skilful and clearly good in goal. One thing that managers always worry about regarding young players is how they’ll react in big games.
Will they rise to the occasion or simply go into their shell and become ineffectual? Clearly the Gunners wouldn’t need to worry about that with Berahino who has shown the testicular fortitude to take the game to not just Arsenal, but Manchester United too.
Likelihood of player joining Arsenal: Saido Berahino is in the best possible position he could be in as a player. He’s going to be a part of a massive bidding war with some of the biggest teams in the Premier League and he’s got the pick of them. One may believe that he’ll see what Wenger has done with a number of young, British talents recently and think that Arsenal will be the best place for him to grow as a player. The truth is, only Saido knows what he’ll do next and he’s got a hard choice to make. 6/10.