Exclusive: Wenger targeting three major January signings.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is set to make a big splash in the transfer market again this January, following up his £42.4m summer purchase of Mesut Ozil with three big names to aid his side’s cause in the middle of the season, CaughtOffside can reveal.
At the top of his list is highly-rated West Brom forward Saido Berahino, who has caught the eye of several top clubs recently following his fine winner for the Baggies in their shock 2-1 win against Premier League champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 20-year-old then followed up this display with another impressive performance in front of Wenger as Steve Clarke’s side drew 1-1 with Arsenal at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
Berahino also scored against the Gunners in their Capital One Cup clash last month, and has now become the club’s priority as they seek reinforcements upfront, after they tried and failed with big-name targets such as Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez during the summer.
The England Under-21 international has 7 goals in 8 games for club and country so far this season, and is currently stalling on signing a new contract with West Brom, with the likes of Everton and Chelsea also showing an interest in snapping him up. This could mean he is available on the cheap this January, and Wenger will be keen to land himself a bargain as he often likes to find the best young talent and develop players into stars.
Wenger is ready to make a £5m offer for the young forward, with Chelsea also monitoring Berahino.
The Gunners boss will also be hoping to bolster his midfield with the signing of Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender. The talented German international was a target for the north London side during the summer, and it is now expected that they will be happy to meet the Bundesliga outfit’s asking price of £20m for the player, with Manchester United also said to be interested.
Wenger has been delighted with the signing of Mathieu Flamini, who joined on a free this summer, but wants extra depth in that position and sees 24-year-old Bender as a more long-term option for the club, with Flamini and his main midfield partner Mikel Arteta both 29 and 31 respectively.
Finally, Arsenal will also look to snap up French international centre-back Adil Rami from Valencia, as the 27-year-old is likely to be made available this January due to a dispute with the club’s manager. The likes of Manchester City and AC Milan have also been linked with the former Lille star, and there’s no doubt he would be a useful signing for a number of teams for a fee of what could be just £8m.
Rami would possibly provide a good replacement for Thomas Vermaelen at Arsenal, whose future remains uncertain after a drastic drop in form last season, and some injury troubles at the start of this campaign.