Arsenal: Assessing Arsene Wenger's Targets in the January Transfer Window

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at the London Stadium, December 3. Wenger says he is unwilling to dip into the transfer market in January. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not a man who acts on spurs or whims.

Wenger had already said at the start of December that a long injury lay-off for midfielder Santi Cazorla would not force him into the frenzied January transfer market. Two English Premier League defeats in succession, to Everton and Manchester City, are unlikely to change this position.

It is not as if Arsenal could not use additions to its squad, however. Here, Newsweek breaks down the business that Wenger may do in January.

Where Arsenal can improve

A replacement for Santi Cazorla. The midfielder may get one more year at Emirates Stadium. In his absence, Wenger lacks a player capable of dictating the tempo of the game from central midfield quite like the Spaniard.

Aside from Cazorla, Arsenal's needs are more nebulous—perhaps some competition for Francis Coquelin, a hard-nosed central midfielder who is better on the ball than the Frenchman. There are those who would argue that player is already at the club, but Granit Xhaka has failed to live up to his transfer fee so far. Petr Cech, at 34, would need a replacement sooner rather than later, but 'sooner' is unlikely to mean 'before the summer transfer window'.

Wenger's real challenge, of course, is to plot a course to that most elusive of Premier League titles, a first since the "invincible" unbeaten season of 2003-04. That will require more mental fortitude than Arsenal have displayed in previous 'nearly but not quite' seasons. Does Wenger have the requisite leadership in his squad?

Possible incomings

Dimitri Payet has been mentioned. But is an attacking midfielder who plays in a similar position to Mesut Ozil, and is older and more inconsistent than the German, really what Wenger needs?

Andre Silva, the 21-year-old Porto striker, is another attacker to have been heavily linked with the club.

Who's heading for the exit?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown improvements so far this season but may be surplus to Wenger's requirements, with Manchester City linked. Rob Holding, the defender signed from Bolton Wanderers in the summer, would probably be allowed to leave on loan.