Draxler or Benzema could be Wenger’s top targets this January…
With the news that Arsene Wenger has a £50m budget for January, we look at the top five players he’s likely to spend it on…
5) Lars Bender – Bayer Leverkusen & Germany – Likely cost: £25m
Arsenal targeted the German midfield dynamo over the summer, but Champions League club Bayer Leverkusen, who were recently drubbed my Manchester United at Old Trafford, were unwilling to sell. A bid of £25m may tempt Leverkusen into parting with the tireless hub of their midfield, although in Mathieu Flamini, Wenger has a player currently thriving in the holding midfield position who didn’t cost a penny this summer.
4) Ilkay Gundogan – Borussia Dortmund & Germany – Likely cost: £40m
If Bender would be expensive, Gundogan’s fee would be astronomical, and could even break Arsenal’s transfer record set by German compatriot Mesut Ozil in the summer. Gundogan is quickly establishing himself as one of Europe’s best midfielders, and would be a fantastic addition to the Premier league side. Despite their recent success, Borussia Dortmund struggle to hold on to their best players. Mario Gotze joined Bayern Munich, Shinji Kagawa joined Manchester United, Nuri Sahin joined Real Madrid and Robert Lewandowski is leaving at the end of the season. If the Gunners were really serious about their interest in the super-talented midfielder, they could secure his signature.
3) Sami Khedira – Real Madrid & Germany – Likely cost: £30m
When Ozil joined the Emirates club this month, Khedira said: “Personally, I feel bad about Mesut’s transfer. We are very, very good friends,” and it could that the powerhouse midfielder joins his pal this January. Khedira has only completed 90 minutes under Carlo Ancelotti twice, with new Spanish youngsters Isco and Asier Illarramendi stealing the limelight, along with Ancelotti’s favourite Luka Modric. With Xabi Alonso returning from injury, the Italian boss could be tempted to move on another one of his German contingent if the money was right. Flamini does plays defensive midfield, but Khedira would inject more quality to the reinvigorated Emirates side.
2) Julian Draxler – Schalke & Germany – Likely cost: £34m
Juventus are also desperate to land Draxler, and are willing to meet his reported £34m buy-out-clause. The Old Lady sent scouts to watch the wonderkid during his side’s Champions League win over Steaua Bucharest. Draxler has seven caps for Germany already, and is already an integral part of Schalke’s first-team. Quite rightly, he is regarded as one of the hottest properties in Europe, and according to the player, two European giants, Manchester City and Real Madrid, came in for him last month. With Wenger’s reputation for developing young talent though, Draxler could be keen on a move to the Emirates to link up with compatriots Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Ozil, if the club were willing to meet his release clause.
1) Karim Benzema -Real Madrid & France – Likely cost: £35m
Since his £27m move Lyon back in 2009, Benzema has scored 91 goals in 189 games for the Spanish giants, establishing himself as one the most feared strikers in Europe. However, Los Blancos’ demanding fan base have become disgruntled by his performances and his relaxed on-field approach, and jeered his touched during the side’s recent 4-1 victory over Getafe. With Olivier Giroud Arsenal’s only fit and available forward, strengthening the position is an absolute necessity. After missing out on Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain in January, Wenger could finally land his world-class striker if the Gunners aggressively target Benzema in January.