Arsenal Focus – Wenger unlikely to strengthen his squad

With the dust from Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Wednesday evening barely settled, attention now turns to the conclusion of the January transfer window on Thursday night. But whether the Gunners add to their squad or not is a very different matter.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has endured a month where he has been linked with a whole host of names from all over Europe and across every position on the pitch. Will he be tempted to strengthen his defence with cover for Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny? Will he finally bite the bullet and sign a much-needed midfield enforcer? Or will a striker come through the doors at the Emirates Stadium to ease the burden on Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud?

Well, in fact, the likelihood now is that the answer will be ‘none of the above’. With the clock ticking down, time is running out for Wenger to complete any potential deals and the discourse from the club seems to suggest that the Frenchman is going to make do with his current squad list.

But Wenger has asserted that he could do with “one more top quality” player, if the deal is right, before the window shuts. There are two areas of the pitch, and two players in particular, which he could yet strengthen.

The first is a striker. Giroud, Walcott and the rest of Arsenal’s attack have found their feet in recent weeks but the club’s preference would be to bring in another quality frontman, should the right deal be available.

It’s Barcelona striker David Villa who has been the name on the lips of the media for some time now as a potential signing for Arsenal. However, Wenger used his pre-match press conference before the Liverpool draw to tell reporters that the La Liga champions were refusing to sell him and, as a result, that deal now looks dead in the water.

The possibility of a striker coming to north London is therefore more remote. However the club have also been linked strongly with Atletico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez and Adam Szalai of Mainz – although both have played down chances of a transfer in recent days.

As a result, we are more likely to see Arsenal strengthen in central midfield. With Abou Diaby’s unreliability and injury proneness, the Gunners lack muscle in that area – and West Ham’s Mohamed Diame could be the man to fill that role.

Diame played in the Hammers’ 3-1 loss to Fulham on Wednesday night but manager Sam Allardyce still admits that the French midfielder could leave. Bitter rivals Tottenham, also chasing midfield reinforcements, are among Arsenal’s competition for his coveted signature.

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