A definitive look at 25 rumoured Arsenal Transfer targets - Part 1
The transfer window is almost upon us, and the waves of transfer rumours are intensifying. There are rumours of the most outrageous of proportions, and then there are those where you go “Ah well!”. Here’s a definitive look at all the players linked to Arsenal.
1) Pepe Reina (Age – 30)
Current Club – Liverpool
Rumour Rating - Pretty weak at the moment. Despite talk that Brendan Rodgers isn’t happy with Reina’s keeping, and could swoop in for Jack Butland, there is no real indication of that.
Attributes - Good shotstopper, commands his area well, decent distribution.
Pedigree - Pretty decent. Unfortunately for Reina, he was born in the same generation as Iker Casillas. Signed from Villarreal in 2005, Reina has been number one choice at Anfield, but his career has been plagued by clumsy errors. Arsenal have been beneficiaries themselves, in 2010 when he failed to hold on to a Chamakh header, and earlier this season, when the ball squirmed into the net off him, through a Cazorla shot.
Do we need him? - Not really. Szczesny is number one, and Fabianski and Mannone aren’t bad options for 2nd and 3rd choice goalkeepers.
Probability of Happening - Pretty low. Liverpool won’t sell unless they get a good replacement, and Wenger doesn’t really like splashing out on keepers. Either way, Reina wouldn’t want to play second fiddle to Szczesny.
2) Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Age – 23)
Current Club - Montpellier
Rumour Rating - Medium. These rumors circulated at the start of the season, but didn’t materialize.
Attributes - Strong, uncompromising defender, good leader, versatile, tough-tackling and strong in the air.
Pedigree - Broke into Montpellier’s first team in 2007, as an 18-year-old and grew in stature. Is the club captain and led the club to their first league title in their history, also earning international caps for France. Impressed in both games against Arsenal this season.
Do we need him? - Probably we do. With Johan Djourou increasingly looking for a move away to save his career, and Squillaci set to be released at the end of the season, he would be a great signing in defence for the club. But he will have to compete with 3 world class centre-backs to start, in Koscielny, Mertesacker and Vermaelen. His versatility could be of good use, as he is used to playing a Yaya Toure-like role.
Probability of Happening - Pretty low. The player indicated he prefers Milan over Arsenal, and going from captain of a French league winning side, despite all their present troubles, to 4th choice centre-back at a club struggling to finish 4th in the English league, may not be a very wise career choice.
3) Luke Shaw (Age – 17)
Current Club - Southampton
Rumour Rating - Medium. He has been linked to a host of top clubs.
Attributes - Not completely sure, but he is known to have good pace, dribbling ability and ball control.
Pedigree - He comes from a famed production line of quality players, which includes Walcott, Bale and Chamberlain. Still very young, but already considered a player with a lot of potential.
Do we need him? - Again, not really. Kieran Gibbs looks like he will be our left-back for years to come, and although Andre Santos may leave at the end of the season, Jernade Meade looks like a promising prospect.
Probability of Happening - Medium. Knowing Arsene Wenger’s fondness for young talents from Southampton, this could very well happen.
4) Dani Alves (Age – 29)
Current Club - Barcelona
Rumour Rating - Weak. Sidelined at Barcelona, due to the rise of youngster Martin Montoya.
Attributes - Strong defender. Never loses the ball. Duh! Runs around 2km more than the team average. Great work ethic and hard-working. Good crosses, and can score goals as well.
Pedigree - Strong. How bad can Brazilian full-backs be? I mean, see Andre Santos. Well, on a serious note, Alves is one of the best right-backs out there.
Do we need him? - Not right now. Bacary Sagna has been linked with a move away at the end of the season. But Carl Jenkinson has shown enough promise.
Probability of Happening - Low. Can’t see this going through.
5) Luiz Gustavo (Age – 25)
Current Club - Bayern Munich
Rumour Rating - Medium to Strong. These rumors started recently, thanks to Arsenal’s indifferent form which seemed to boil over after the defeat to Swansea.
Attributes - A good tough tackling midfielder. Versatile and can play across the back line.
Pedigree - Good pedigree. Had a good season last year, but has found lesser game time with the arrival of Spain international Javi Martinez at Bayern.
Do we need him? - Would be a great option to keep in the transfer window. The squad looks short of personnel in defensive midfield. Diaby is out injured, Arteta doesn’t really look comfortable there and Coquelin is not playing at his best level.
Probability of Happening - Medium to strong. Would be a great signing.
6) Marouane Fellaini (Age – 25)
Current Club - Everton
Rumour Rating - Medium.
Attributes - Strong, and a pain in the backside for the opposition. In your face all the time (Nemanja Vidic discovered the hard way), and can be effective all over central midfield, and has been used even as a makeshift striker. Has a penchant for reserving his best against Man Utd. Also known for his penchant for picking up bookings. Good at identifying thugs and headbutting them. For example, Ryan Shawcross.
Pedigree - Strong pedigree. One of the best central midfielders in the league at the moment. But he has a long list of disciplinary issues. Picks up cards faster than Everton pick up points.
Do we need him? - Yes Please. But only if he is willing to curb his attacking instincts and become more disciplined. Would add much needed bite into midfield. Could be a perfect foil for more creative players like Wilshere, Arteta and Cazorla.
Probability of Happening - Medium. Everton may not be able to hold on to him longer, considering all the attention he is garnering. But we may have to ward off interest from other bidders.
7) Yann M’Vila (Age – 22)
Current Club - Rennes
Rumour Rating - Medium.
Attributes - Typical defensive midfielder. Strong, built like an ox, unflinching on the tackle.
Pedigree - Mixed. He was highly noted for captaining his club side at a young age and being their best player. But has had disciplinary issues with the national team, when he was banned for 18 months from international football for going on a night-out, whilst with the U-21 side.
Do we need him? - Maybe we do. Maybe we don’t. His stock has considerably fallen recently. His quality is unquestioned, but his consistency and discipline are question marks.
Probability of Happening - Medium. Supposedly, he was precariously close to joining the club, and Arsene Wenger may go for him again, as he has already rated him highly.
8) Kevin Strootman (Age – 22)
Current Club - PSV Eindhoven
Rumour Rating – Weak. Linked heavily to Man Utd, though.
Attributes - Central midfielder capable of playing in a defensive role, as well as an attacking role. Has a fantastic eye for a creative pass.
Pedigree - So far, good. Since joining PSV last season from Utrecht, he has been a first team regular. Earned himself an international call up, and has not looked back since.
Do we need him? - Not really sure. At the moment, the need for a defensive midfielder is more than a midfielder who can play both roles.
Probability of Happening - Low. PSV may demand a huge fee, which Man Utd may be able to pump up.
9) Mohamed Diame (Age – 25)
Current Club - West Ham United
Rumour Rating - Medium. Rumors started recently, after his strong performances for the Hammers.
Attributes - Powerful midfielder. A carbon copy of Yaya Toure. Not shy to tackle or go forward, and puts his body on the line when required. Not the most consistent.
Pedigree - Growing. Not many noticed him at Wigan, but he has been a vital player in West Ham’s rise. How did Wigan let him go on a free?
Do we need him? - Why not? Knowing that Diaby is perennially injured, he would add a new dimension to the midfield.
Probability of Happening - Medium. He joined West Ham just months earlier, but may be available for as little as £4 million if some reports are to be believed.
10) Lewis Holtby (Age – 22)
Current Club - Schalke 04
Rumour Rating - Medium to Strong. He has been linked to several top clubs in England, including his beloved Everton.
Attributes - Typical German midfielder. Efficient, neat passer of the ball, with a great vision. Can also score goals. Got some neat hair.
Pedigree - Pretty good. Has earned a lot of good reviews for his performances with Schalke. In contention to play for Germany, despite the plethora of talent available in their midfield.
Do we need him? - Why not? With Rosicky and Diaby addicted to injuries, Holtby could be a breath of fresh air. He is technically very good, and will suit well to the already existing dwarf sized Arsenal midfield.
Probability of Happening - Medium to strong. With his contract over in the summer, he is free to sign a pre-contract in January. With Arsene Wenger a long term admirer, and the player himself wanting to move to Arsenal, could be a great coup.
11) Stewart Downing (Age – 28)
Current Club - Liverpool
Rumour Rating - Weak. Came once or twice in the tabloids and since blown out of proportion.
Attributes - Hmm. Let’s see. He can cross. Scores and assists once in a blue moon. Can fill in at left-back, if found to be completely useless at left midfield.
Pedigree - Declined from being one of England’s bright young talents at Middlesbrough and Aston Villa to a joke at Liverpool.
Do we need him? - A decent left sided squad player. We have enough of those in Gibbs, Santos and Podolski. So, maybe no.
Probability of Happening - Nil. If we buy him, then there would be a protest march at the Emirates for sure.
12) Mario Gotze (Age – 20)
Current Club - Borussia Dortmund
Rumour Rating – Medium. Crazy rumors had indicated that Arsenal had already signed him. But the story was completely different as he extended his contract at Dortmund.
Attributes - Potentially world class. Highly technical. Can create chances and take them as well. An attacking midfielder, he has been used at wings occasionally.
Pedigree - Very strong across Europe. All top clubs have had him on his radar for quite some time.
Do we need him? - Why not? Would be a fantastic addition, though comes a bit costly at around £30 million. Would add more flair, and creativity in midfield.
Probability of Happening - Weak. Arsenal rarely go for players with such massive transfer tags. Wenger would prefer going for someone a bit cheaper, but probably with the same level of talent.
13) Remy Cabella (Age – 22)
Current Club - Montpellier
Rumour Rating - Medium. Highly rated by Robert Pires, and has since been linked with top clubs with his impressive performances in the French league and Montpellier’s doomed Champions League adventure.
Attributes - Tricky customer. Quick, great close control. More like a Spanish midfielder.
Pedigree - Improving. He has been noted for his performances in Europe so far, and been marked out as a permanent fixture in the France national side for the future.
Do we need him? - If Walcott leaves, then Cabella would be a good enough replacement for the Englishman. May need some time to settle into the English league though.
Probability of Happening - Weak to Medium. Knowing Arsene’s love for short, technical and French players, Cabella may well be coming to Arsenal, but with the pressure of buying established stars may force the manager to back out.