Wenger to be handed a January boost
Media and press have speculated ever since the start of the season as to why Arsenal, 20/1 to win the Premier League, didn’t strengthen their centre back options in the summer.
According to latest reports, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be handed money to recruit in January, however not enough to make a blockbuster signing of the magnitude of Mesut Ozil.
Varying estimates are in the region of £20m, in a bid to push on in the title race. Back in January 2006, in an attempt to strengthen his defence, then Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson added two of his best signings to his ranks in Nemanja Vidic for £7m from Spartak Moscow, and Patrice Evra who cost £5.5m from Monaco. Although United didn’t win the title that season, they added Michael Carrick for £14m in the summer, and won it the following campaign.
Arsenal may well be in a similar position. A couple of tweaks may just do it. It is at centre back where there have been demands to strengthen, following a splurge on Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina in pre-season.
Wenger could go in for a stop-gap such as Ron Vlaar who would reportedly only cost around £4m, due to his contract being up in the summer, and who has been a rock for Aston Villa so far this season.
However, the north London club have emerged as front-runners to sign Borussia Dortmund contract rebel Mats Hummels, who could be available for as little as £25m. There is no doubt about whether he would significantly improve the side and, at the age of just 25, would be at the heart of the defence for years to come.
Accounting for inflation, he would be Arsenal’s Vidic, though even more well known, having won the World Cup with Germany in the summer. Should they sign Vlaar for £4m in January, they could keep the rest and bid for Hummels at the end of the season, when their budget is likely to significantly increase.
Whoever comes in January would be eligible to play in the FA Cup, a competition the Gunners won last campaign, and which they are 15/2 to retain.