After a disastrous start to their campaign which saw them languishing nearer the relegation zone than the top half, the Gunners have steadied the ship and are now looking to build on some good form. Despite a few solid results, Mikel Arteta’s job is not done yet and neither is his squad complete. With this in mind, as well as the fact there are rumoured to be quite a few on their way out at the Emirates this year, we outlined 5 players that Arsenal could look at signing this January and graded them on both potential success and probability.
First on the list is Brighton and Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma. The Malian midfielder came to the Premier League from Lille for a fee rumoured to be around £15m in 2018 and has been a regular on the South Coast ever since. He didn’t pull up any trees in his first 12 months at the club, however, since Graham Potter’s arrival, Bissouma has come on leaps and bounds, much like Brighton’s style of play.
Not as dangerous on the ball as some of the Premier League’s elite, Bissouma makes up for this with his fantastic athleticism that is perfectly suited to a side looking to employ a high intensity press. If he were to choose Arsenal as his next club, he might look forward to forming a very formidable midfield partnership with Thomas Partey, shouldering a large part of the defensive burden and allowing the more creative sources to flourish.
Bissouma has an excellent engine and is also a very strong tackler, topping Brighton’s tackling stats this season. His boundless energy and relentless pressing forces opponents into relinquishing possession and would serve as a great catalyst for counter attacks to use Aubameyang and co’s pace on the break.
Brighton will not want to lose their man and will probably be looking for at least £25m-£30m to part ways with Bissouma, however, I think if Arsenal were to invest in the Malian, his value would only continue to rise as he elevates his game amongst those around him. Probably more likely to happen in the Summer, Bissouma would be a smart bit of business by the gunners.
Potential to be a success: 7.5/10
Next up is Emi Buendia from Norwich. The little magician might be plying his trade in the Championship right now but he’s already tasted Premier League football, so adapting to a new league wouldn’t be a concern. Despite being part of a pretty gloomy Norwich campaign that saw them relegated to the second tier, Buendia was a bright spark in the Canaries side, notching 7 assists.
It has been well documented that Arsenal have been crying out for some creativity in their side and Buendia would provide just that. His incredible agility allows him to receive the ball in tight spaces before turning and creating chances. The Argentinian is great a receiving the ball through the lines and his movement could be just what the gunners are after.
Arteta seems keen to give Emile Smith Rowe a go in the first team and although he’s repaid the Spaniard’s faith so far, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to single handedly carry all of Arsenal’s creative responsibility, so Buendia would be ideal to bring in.
Norwich are having a good season and are in a strong position to return to the Premier League again, but I think this deal is another that is more likely to happen in the summer. The fee will likely be at least £25m but with all the outgoings and savings now wages, Arsenal will be capable of coughing up the cash. Buendia would represent an excellent bit of business by Arsenal and this move could be what he needs to really kick onto the next level in his career.
Potential to be a success: 8.5/10
The third man on our list is someone who has been linked with Arsenal for a number of years now, Wilfried Zaha. The Crystal Palace forward previously had an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United, but after returning to Palace, has become one of the best forwards in the league.
Superbly talented with the ball at his feet, Zaha is one of the most difficult players in the country to defend against in a on-on-one situation. As well as this Zaha’s pace and control mean he is a very effective ball carrier and this could be something Arsenal could benefit from too. Rather than being purely an instinctive finisher, Zaha more often than not creates his own chances, something that would surely suit the rather toothless Gunners at the moment.
Primarily more of a winger, but also capable of playing in a striker role, Zaha could provide something different for Arsenal and allow Aubameyang to move back into his more favoured, central role. The Ivorian’s style is very direct and as such would likely prove to be much more effective that the current insistence in the Arsenal team of loading floated crosses into the box for opposition teams to head away.
Crystal Palace have desperately clung onto their talisman for a number of years now and appear to be holding firm on insisting on receiving a huge fee. This would present the biggest stumbling block, however, Zaha has apparently been keen on a move before and seems determined to prove that he is good enough to make it at a bigger club. One of the more unlikely transfers on this list, but in my opinion, one of the best ones.
Potential to be a success: 9/10
Another player that has been linked with Arsenal a few times recently is Julian Brandt. The former Bayer Leverkusen man has been plying his trade amongst the host of other young stars over in Borussia Dortmund since 2019. Still just 24 years of age, Brandt has been playing at the top level in Germany for a number of years.
Since leaving Leverkusen, Brandt has somewhat struggled at Dortmund, starting just 6 of their last 15 and only has a single goal and assist to his name in his last 23 games. Despite this, Brandt is clearly a very talented player and could be just the creative force that Arsenal are so desperate for.
Comfortable coming in from the left and also centrally, Brandt is a silky player and has a real bit of quality about him. This wouldn’t be a signing that would make too many headlines but it could be a decent bit of business by Arteta.
Dortmund are said to be reluctant to let Brandt go, even more so with an injury to fellow midfielder Axel Witsel this weekend, set to keep him out for almost a year. With that said, Brandt is not a regular in the starting line up, so could be tempted to the Emirates by the offer of first team football and a loan deal, possibly with a view to buy, could be on the cards.
Potential to be a success: 7/10
Finally, we have another player currently playing in the Championship but who has tasted Premier League football very recently, Bournemouth’s David Brooks. Since joining the Cherries in 2018, Brooks has had a somewhat turbulent time on the South coast. The Welshman initially enjoyed a fantastic spell, which saw him catch many an eye of the big clubs in his debut Premier League season.
Since then, things have been less straightforward for Brooks who spent a large chunk of last season on the injury table, unable to help Bournemouth escape from relegation. He did feature towards the end of the season, but after such a long time out, wasn’t able to steady a rapidly sinking ship.
Brooks now finds himself in the Championship again and appears to be rediscovering his best form once more. We all knew there was a quality player there, but it was whether he could get back to his pre-injury self. It seems he’s managed to do just that and Arsenal might do well to pounce soon, before the other Premier League sides become interested once more.
Bournemouth are currently enjoying a strong season and look to be well in the mix for an instant return to the top tier, however, it would be hard for them to deny Brooks a move when he is clearly too good for the Championship. The Cherries will probably be able to demand at least £25m for the Welshman but this would be a fantastic deal for the Gunners and I can easily see Brooks being worth double that in time.
Potential for success: 9/10
There we have it, 5 players Arsenal could look to sign this January transfer window! Some are more likely than others, but all would make sense and be worthy additions to Mikel Arteta’s squad. My persona selections would be Bissouma and Brooks.
Who would you pick if you were Mikel Arteta? Let us know in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!