Arsenal transfers: Five defenders Gunners could sign in January
Arsenal transfers: Aran Dhillon takes a look at five defenders that the Gunners could sign to strengthen in January
Andrea Ranocchia has taken some time to stamp down his authority at the San Siro after a string of injuries – but last season the club saw just what a talent they had. The Italian centre-half made 45 appearances in all competitions in 2012/13 and made the position his own, but has found his first-team opportunities limited this term. The 25-year-old’s performances have sen a number of Europe’s top clubs show their interest in the Internazionale man. With the World Cup coming up, Arsenal will be keen to wrap up a deal ahead of the tournament before the defender’s price tag could dramatically increase as more teams become interested. The £15m rated player was heavily linked with Manchester United last summer and for any deal to be completed in the near future, the nrth London club will have to do battle with David Moyes’ men, who remain interested, and Chelsea. Though Ranocchia has stated his desire to stay at Inter, he is yet to sign a new contract – creating further speculation on his future. However, Arsene Wenger may have to try his hand at persuading the player to join as it looks Chelsea could be in pole position in the race to sign him, with Inter keen on a swap deal with David Luiz.
Arsenal are just one of a number of clubs around Europe vying for the signature of Swiss centre-back Fabian Schar. Though the player has not said he wants a move away from his native land, his agent has revealed a number of teams are interested – increasing speculation that a move will be completed in the not too distant future. Schar, 22, was subject of United interest last year and Arsenal may have to do battle with the Red Devils for his signature as Moyes looks to tighten up his defence. The Basel defender put in two commanding performances as his side beat Chelsea home and away in this season’s Champions League. He is said to be happy with life under Murat Yakin but may be tempted by a move to one of the Premier League’s ‘top four’. Borussia Dortmund are said to be lining up an offer in January which is set to begin an auction for the highly-rated youngster. Wenger will be keen to land the services of the youngster who can suit the Arsenal style of play with his presence and calmness on the ball.
Jose Mourinho may have recently stated that Luiz is part of his future plans but it is clear to see the strained relationship between the pair – and there is even talk of senior players criticising the defender’s attitude. It may seem very unlikely to see the 26-year-old move across London but stranger things have happened. If the Brazilian opted for a move to The Emirates, Arsenal would need to fend off interest from Barcelona. With the potential arrival of Luiz Felipe Scolari at the Nou Camp next summer, Arsenal’s best chances may be for a January move before Luiz has the chance to reunite with his former manager at his desired club. The Catalan club failed in their approach for the centre-half last summer but he is sure to be more open to a move if Scolari – the current manager of the Brazil national team – is in charge. But Luiz may want to move club in the New Year to ensure he is playing regular football ahead of the World Cup. Ranocchia is said to be on Mourinho’s radar as a replacement for Luiz but it is the Blues who hold all the power in the matter on whether their man moves or stays. His contract with the club is until the summer of 2017 and it seems the player will only pursue a move if notified he is not part of the club’s plans.
Ashley Williams may be just what Arsenal need at the back. Tough, fearless and physical – three traits the Welshman has on the field. The 29-year-old could be on the move to Arsenal in January if the club put in an £10m bid. He was said to be keen on a move to Wenger’s side in summer but any move failed to materialise. With talk of Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen on the radar of other clubs, the acquisition of Williams could be key. He may not be the type of player Arsenal fans are used to seeing put on the team strip but in order to win the title it seems they have to toughen up. Williams wears his heart on the sleeve and, if a move was completed, would give the club’s Premier League challenge a boost. Michael Laudrup will be keen to keep hold of his captain but if Williams once again hints at a move and if the money is offered, the club may have no option but to let him go.
Winston Reid is currently on the sidelines after surgery on an ankle injury but has gained strong interest from Wenger. It is understood the Arsenal boss may be lining up a £6m raid on the New Zealand captain in January if he is back fit. The centre-back may not be the quickest but makes up for it with his aerial presence and tough tackling. If a move for Willams does not take place, Arsenal will be sure to put all their efforts into capturing Reid from West Ham. The player’s age and Champions League eligibility make him ideal for the club and it is believed Wenger’s scouting network have been keeping tabs on the 25-year-old since 2012. Despite his injury woes, Reid has showed what he is capable of on the pitch and became one of Sam Allardyce’s most important players before injury struck. The move would also be ideal on the personal side of things as it would allow Reid – who is said to be happy with life in London – to stay put in his current home.