Arsenal Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of Dec. 2

BR-UK StaffFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2013

Arsenal Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of Dec. 2

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    Another week gone means another week closer to the January transfer window and, for Arsenal, another week of increased transfer speculation.

    The Gunners' lofty Premier League position has not prevented rumours abounding about how Arsene Wenger might try to strengthen his squad midseason, and there seems to be no sign of that abating over the next month.

    So click on for all the latest transfer rumours surrounding Arsenal this week.

    —LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, DEC. 2—

Gunners Linked with Standard Liege Youngster Batshuayi

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    Arsenal could move for Standard Liege's Michy Batshuayi in January, according to the Daily Mirror.

    Citing a report in the Belgian media, the Mirror believes Arsenal are monitoring the 20-year-old striker, who has scored 14 goals already so far for Liege.

    The Mirror reports:

    And although the Liege president confirmed there has been interest from the north London club he warned them he will not sell Batshuayi on the cheap.

    “What is new is the interest of Arsenal in Michy, they’re one of the many clubs who follow our striker.

    "We’re not willing to let Michy go this season," he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

    His talent has never been in doubt, but his disciplinary problems have plagued him since his days in the Anderlecht youth set-up.

    The youngster has netted five times in 11 games for the Belgian under-21 side, but was also sent home on one occasion for reportedly inviting girls into his hotel room before a game.

    Wenger might decide to act quickly as Batshuayi could still force his way into the senior side for the World Cup in Brazil next summer bumping up his value.

Arsenal Monitoring Gundogan's Contract Situation?

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    Borussia Dortmund could be forced to sell Gundogan if their valuation of the player is met in January, according to the latest comments from club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.

    With Gundogan out of contract in 2015, Watzke seemed to acknowledge to the Daily Star on Friday that Gundogan could be sold in the transfer window—if a contract extension looks unlikely and another club matches his valuation.

    The Star believes Arsenal (and Manchester United) are interested in such a deal, with around £25m needed to persuade Dortmund into a reluctant sale.

    Arsene Wenger is reportedly keen to partner Gundogan with international team-mate Mesut Ozil.

    Watzke said:

    It is our absolute desire that besides Robert Lewandowski no other regular player leaves the club.

    Only in the case of Ilkay Gundogan, we do not yet know how it will turn out. We would love to extend (a contract) with him.

     

Pedro Linked with Emirates Switch?

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    Could Barcelona forward Pedro be heading to north London in January? That's the view of the Daily Express, who believe he could be tempted by a loan move—although Liverpool are also interested.

    The attacker has seen his playing time diminish at Barca in part thanks to the arrival of Neymar, but is eager for regular football to ensure he is selected for Spain's World Cup squad next summer.

    The Express reports:

    The Spanish international is not happy with his playing time at the Camp Nou and is open to the idea of a move in the upcoming transfer window.

    And reports in Spain suggest that the Premier League is the 26-year-old's preferred destination.

    According to AS that has put Arsenal and Liverpool on alert with both seeking attacking reinforcements.

    Pedro has always stated he is happy at Barca and his contract that runs until 2016 and buyout clause of £125m could prove obstacles to a move.

    But the player's desire to play a prominent role for Spain at next summer's World Cup means he may be willing to look elsewhere if he can't be guaranteed greater opportunities under Gerardo Martino.

    It now remains to be seen whether Arsenal or Liverpool look to take advantage of Pedro's conundrum with the prospect of a loan move possibly appealing to all parties.

Striker Ntep Favours Arsenal Opportunity

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    Could another French striker be set to join Arsenal? It looks possible, after Auxerre youngster Paul-Georges Ntep expressed his desire to join the Premier League leaders.

    Sky Sports picked up quotes from Ntep to L'Equipe on Wednesday, with the striker suggesting he favours a move to Arsenal over switches to Chelsea or Manchester United.

    However, he only wants to leave Auxerre for a club where he will have a reasonable chance to play regularly, something Arsenal might not be able to offer just yet.

    Sky Sports reports:

    Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked with a swoop for the highly-rated youngster, but Ntep nodded towards Arsenal's history with young French players, although he says it would have to be the right move for his career development.

    "Arsenal is a club that trusts young players. But it would all depend on the project," he told L'Equipe.

    "If it is going to a new club to remain on the bench, what is the improvement? I don't ask to be in the starting 11 of a big club immediately, but I could help in the not too long-term.

    "If I have reached such a level now, it is because Auxerre offered me stability that allowed me to reach new levels.

    "I don't forget. Nowadays you can be a much-demanded player and tomorrow the player everyone will laugh about."

    When asked if a January exit could be on the cards, Ntep admitted: "I am thinking about it currently. Such a decision will depend on the project, time in first team and the style of the team.

    "The most important thing is not to leave, but leaving to reach a new standard. I haven't made my decision just yet.

    "Maybe the question will be topical this winter, but it will be up to the club first to think about it.

    "The day I have an interesting project in front of me, I will think about it."

Thomas Vermaelen Not Expected to Leave in January

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    Despite falling behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the Arsenal pecking order, Arsene Wenger does not expect central defender Thomas Vermaelen to leave the club in January.

    Wenger admitted that the club captain is "suffering" as a back-up member of the squad, but does not believe he is sufficiently unsettled to demand a move away from the club.

    According to Metro, Wenger said:

    It’s tough to leave Vermaelen out because of his quality, his attitude and his influence at the club,’ the Frenchman said.

    It’s a difficult decision to make because he is a top-class player.

    He certainly suffers but he handles it with great dignity and great professionalism.

    I’m not concerned that he might move in January because if he wants to do that he will come and see me, which he has not done.

Alvaro Morata Deal Done, According to Reports

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    The Daily Express is already pretty confident Arsenal have completed one deal, saying that Alvaro Morata will join from Real Madrid on a six-month loan.

    The Gunners have been linked with the Spanish striker for a number of weeks now, but the Express believe they have gone one better and beaten arch-rivals Spurs to Morata's signature.

    In Tuesday's Express, Simon Yeend writes:

    Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old and has pounced now in order to provide back-up for his frontman Olivier Giroud.

    Spaniard Morata has made only one start in La Liga this season and is desperate for first-team football to boost his chances of making the World Cup squad travelling to Brazil in June next year.

    However, Wenger subsequently denied the speculation when asked about it later, also denying any interest in Alexandre Pato—who he had also been linked with in some of Tuesday's newspapers.

    Wenger in chatty mood. Interested in Pato? "No." Signing Morata? "No." Worried about flares? "No."

    — Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) December 3, 2013

Arsenal 'Big Favourites' to Sign Schalke's Julian Draxler

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    Speculation is rife that Arsenal will sign Schalke wonderkid Julian Draxler either in January or the summer.

    Former Premier League footballer Jan Aage Fjortoft, who has carved out something of a niche for himself as a more trusted supplier of transfer speculation (if such a thing exists), sparked the talk by claiming on Twitter that Arsene Wenger is in regular contact with the Germany international. 

    BREAKING NEWS! I understand Arsenal are big favourite to get Schalke's Wonderkid Julian Draxler. I understand Wenger talk to him often #afc

    — Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) November 30, 2013

    Fjortoft went on to confirm that Draxler has a €45 million (£38 million) release clause in his contract that can be activated every summer, and it appears Arsenal may be the front-runners to do so in 2014.

Gunners Miss out on Max Meyer

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    One Schalke player it appears Arsenal will not be signing is Max Meyer, after the talented youngster signed a new three-year contract with the German club.

    Arsenal and Chelsea had apparently both been in the hunt for the £12.5 million-rated teenager, but it now appears unlikely he will leave the Bundesliga for a number of years yet.

    "It is excellent news for the club," said Schalke general manager Horst Heldt, according to James Dickenson of the Daily Express"Many professionals in the game have predicted a great career in football for him.

    "His development in the past few months has been almost breathtaking."

Youssouf Mulumbu Heading for the Emirates?

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    One player Arsenal might sign in January is West Brom's Youssouf Mulumbu, according to...the player himself.

    As quoted by The Sun (via Mirror Football's Alex Richards), Mulumbu claimed at the weekend that he has already received approaches from the league leaders and is ready to depart The Hawthorns at the next opportunity.

    He said:

    I’ve had approaches from Arsenal.

    I could leave this winter. This is the right time for me to set my sights higher. I’m ready to join a top-four club.

    We are not professional enough in the way we manage our games—for example our draw at Chelsea. We are not mature enough.