Arsenal can’t waste any time at all in the January transfer window, with the Gunners and manager Mikel Arteta hell-bent on delivering a Premier League title.
Arsenal fell short last season, despite looking like the real deal and emerging as re-awoken giant under Arteta. The level of football has improved considerably, and the Gunners’ starting XI now looks formidable and a match for the very best in the world.
Big money summer deals, including a then British record scoop for Declan Rice, have made Arsenal even more fearsome.
Yet, with two recent defeats to Fulham and West Ham respectively, Arsenal are falling off the pace and need to click back into top gear.
The January window provides ample opportunity, but the world of transfers is never straightforward. Express Sport takes a look at what could be unfolding very soon;
Ivan Toney agreement reached
It is no secret that Arsenal have eyes for Toney, and the England striker very much fancies a switch to the Emirates.
The 27-year-old has admitted he grew up as a Liverpool fan, but always had admiration for Arsenal. Speaking earlier in the year as a guest on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Toney said: “The next club I go to, if I was to move, would be the right club… I’ve been a Liverpool fan my whole life, but from young I’ve liked Arsenal.”
Brentford have been without Toney this season due to his suspension after breaching the Football Association’s betting rules, and as such the Bees have already planned for the future without him.
Manager Thomas Frank has openly admitted that Toney would eventually head up the football pyramid to pastures new, and this season provided a solid opportunity to craft a team in his absence. Brentford are now ready to part with their forward as a result, but any deal won’t come cheap.
Earlier in the season, when starring as a guest on Monday Night Football, Frank suggested Toney would command in the region of £100m. Arsenal, therefore, are aware of what ballpark to enter when it comes to placing an offer on the table.
With Brazil international Gabriel Jesus not providing enough in terms of a regular flow of goals, Toney could be the man needed to slot into the central channel with world class starlets Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli flanking him on either wing.
Arsenal are well placed to seal an agreement, but must fend off interest from Chelsea and Tottenham, along with European suitors.
Borussia Dortmund raid
Arsenal also need reinforcement across the defensive line, and one player they have observed for quite some time is Borussia Dortmund ace Nico Schlotterbeck.
The young centre back is only just approaching his mid twenties, and is admired for his calmness on the ball and a magnetic ability to retain possession and play out from the back like a gifted midfielder would.
The German fits the bill for everything Arteta wants in a footballer, and the sort of candidate he wants leading his Arsenal team into the new era.
Schlotterbeck won’t come cheap but, as is often the case, his stock and therefore his price tag will only rise in the coming months.
The Gunners have strong relations with the Dortmund board room, and for this deal it may be a case of biting the bullet early and reaping the rewards.
Saudi Arabian pay-out
As aforementioned, Arsenal are short in the defensive ranks and thus selling a player from the back line makes very little sense.
That said, however, Brazil tough man Gabriel Magalhaes has been widely courted by teams in the emerging Saudi Arabian league, who are each willing to part with huge sums of money in order to turn his head.
A cohort of Brazilians, including former Liverpool duo Roberto Firmino and Fabinho have already made the switch over to Saudi Arabia, and for Arsenal the exit of Gabriel could bizarrely turn out to be a positive.
Holding all the cards on the potential deal and being able to call the shots, Arteta and the Gunners could demand at least £80m for the impressive 26-year-old, who has age on his side along with steady form. Such a deal would also enable Arteta to pull off a swoop for Schlotterbeck as a tidy and instant replacement, while also reinvesting cash into future transfer deals.
Sometimes taking a risk with the sales of players can be just as effective as taking the plunge on huge buys.