Seven transfer targets for Arsenal after Theo Walcott's injury

Posted by Kevin Palmer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suffered a major blow with the news of Theo Walcott's season-ending injury, meaning the French coach could be forced into making a move in the January transfer window.

- Cross: January transfer window ins and outs

Walcott's absence, combined with a month-long absence for Nicklas Bendtner, have limited Wenger's attacking options, though the Gunners boss has said he has little appetite for making signings during the winter window.

Spanish forward Jose Antonio Reyes, signed in 2004, is one of Wenger's less triumphant January additions, and since then he has rarely inspired the Arsenal faithful by breaking the bank, despite the rewards of strengthening when in a Premier League position similar to now.

Andrey Arshavin was another expensive January window purchase who failed to live up to his billing, yet Wenger could target one of the following stars as he looks to bolster Arsenal's hunt for a trophy in 2014 in light of the serious injury Walcott has suffered.

Julian Draxler
Current club: Schalke
Status: Constantly linked with a host of top clubs despite signing a new contract last summer.

As pictures of Draxler allegedly strolling into Bayern Munich's medical centre circulated on Twitter last week, it seemed as if the Bavarian giants were on the brink of snapping up another of the jewels of Germany's next golden generation, yet those reports proved to be groundless.

That does not mean this supremely gifted attacking midfielder will not make a high-profile move in this transfer window, and he certainly fits the mould of a player Wenger would be attracted to. Quick, incisive, youthful and boasting endless potential, his 45 million euro buyout clause is an expensive tempter for Wenger.

Mario Mandzukic
Current club: Bayern Munich
Status: Under threat following confirmation of Robert Lewandowski's move to Bayern next summer.

This transfer link comes with plenty of credibility after Wenger conceded the Croatia striker is a player he admires, before expressing his belief at a recent news conference that Bayern may be tempted to sell him at the end of the season as they prepare to make space for Lewandowski.

Mandzukic's form with Bayern this season has been impressive, with 10 Bundesliga goals in his 16 appearances and a couple more in the Champions League. A powerful target man, he would give Arsenal a fresh dimension of attacking potency, but he is highly unlikely to be prised out of Munich this month unless he forces through a move himself.

Jackson Martinez Porto appeal
APJackson Martinez has said he would be interested in a move to Arsenal.

Jackson Martinez
Current club: FC Porto
Status: Openly talking about a move to Arsenal.

Martinez pulled out one of the oldest tricks in the book when he was quizzed about a possible move to North London in a recent interview, leaving little doubt that the free-scoring Colombian would relish the chance to move to the Premier League.

"I cheered for Arsenal when I was a kid. I love their style of play," he was reported as saying by the Metro, and he would appear to have the attributes to offer Wenger the kind of physicality in the forward line lacking when Olivier Giroud is absent. Powerful in the air and robust enough to withstand the demands of English football, Martinez would be an expensive, if relatively proven, signing.

Diego Costa
Current club: Atletico Madrid
Status: Lighting up La Liga for title-chasing Atletico Madrid.

When Liverpool made their move to sign Brazilian-born Costa last summer, many Premier League fanatics needed to acquaint themselves with the previously unheralded striker who spent much of his time in Falcao's shadow at Atletico.

No one is dismissing Costa as a sideshow now. A stunning total of 19 goals from just 18 La Liga games this season and three more in the Champions League have ensured this one-time bad boy of Spanish football is now recognised as one of the finest goal scorers in Europe. Atletico seem highly unlikely to sell him in this window, despite a reported 32 million-pound release clause, yet he may be the long-term option for Wenger to pursue next summer.

Alvaro Morata
Current club: Real Madrid
Status: Struggling to get into the Real side.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear that he does not intend to allow Morata to leave in this transfer window, but it could be that a loan move to Arsenal suits all parties.

This gifted 21-year-old needs regular football as he looks to develop his talent and a brief stint in the Premier League could be a valuable part of his learning curve. The healthy Spanish contingent at Arsenal would certainly make him feel at home.

Michy Batshuayi celebGettyImagesMichy Batshuayi currently plies his trade at Standard Liege.

Michy Batshuayi
Current club: Standard Liege
Status: A viable target in this transfer window.

Arsenal supporters may be dreaming of another scenario that sees Wenger pluck a world superstar out of thin air in this transfer window, just as he did with his last-gasp move for Mesut Ozil back in August.

However, such deals are harder to orchestrate in the mid-season window and that may be why young Batshuayi is a realistic target as a stopgap signing who offers bags of long-term potential.

Only 20, he has been tagged by some as a raw Thierry Henry, with his impressive pace and strength assets that could be developed by Wenger.

Christian Benteke
Current club: Aston Villa
Status: Failing to live up to the standards he set in his first season in England.

Wenger admitted at a press briefing last year that he was monitoring Benteke long before Villa signed him in the final hours of the 2012 August transfer window. "I was surprised that he went to Villa," Wenger said. "He was a player we looked at, but we did not expect him to move so soon."

A punt on Benteke would be a gamble in this transfer window after he signed a new contract last summer. However, his inconsistent performances this season have led some to suggest he is eager to get away from Villa after he was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham last year. Villa may be tempted to cash him in now if it gives manager Paul Lambert funds to invest in their survival battle.

Wenger's January signings
Nacho Monreal, 8 million pounds from Malaga (January 2013)
Ryo Miyaichi (signed from Japanese schools system, January 2011)
Sol Campbell (free transfer, January 2010)
Andrey Arshavin, 15 million pounds from Zenit Saint Petersburg (January 2009)
Abou Diaby, 2 million pounds from Auxerre (January 2006)
Emmanuel Adebayor, 3 million pounds from Monaco (January 2006)
Theo Walcott, 10 million pounds from Southampton (January 2006)
Jose Antonio Reyes, 10.5 million pounds from Sevilla (January 2004)


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