Predominantly little occurs in the January Transfer Window for Arsenal, despite numerous rumours, and the 2011 Winter Window should be no different. Manager Arsene Wenger is not the type to spending extravagantly, unlike many of his rival counterparts.
However, the Frenchman’s roster has enjoyed one of the healthiest seasons in recent years, exposing just how much depth the Gunners boast.
With Wenger boasting such a quality squad, a number of big name players are struggling to break in and find consistent playing time, which could prompt the French tactician to offload some frustrated or struggling players.
Arsenal have enjoyed stellar start to 2010/2011, despite a few embarrassing slip ups. The North London giants sit third in the Premier League table, four points of leader Manchester United and still well in the EPL title race.
Arsenal have also qualified for the next stage of the UEFA Champions League and reached the semifinal of the League Cup, where Wenger’s men will encounter Championship side Ipswich Town this month. The Gunners are also alive in the FA Cup.
However, there are a number of players rumoured to be on their way out of the Emirates due to frustration and lacklustre performances. Here are six players Wenger may sell in January.
1. Tomas Rosicky
The Czech midfield endured a horror injury spell from February 2008 that saw Rosicky absent until September 2009. However, since his return, Little Mozart has enjoyed full fitness as well as quality playing time. But due to the form of Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere, the 29-year-old has struggled to find consistent playing time in both the midfield and forward line.
Rosicky provides vital depth and reliability in to the Arsenal roster, but in recent weeks the Arsenal fans have witnessed a demise in form and confidence. Formerly the Czech international was an elegant, intelligent playmaker, capable of tormenting the best defensive in world football.
However, injury and lack of playing time has seen Rosicky with a decreased speed, a lesser passing range and a frail shot. As always at Arsenal, there is a never ending supply of talented teenagers vying for spots in the Arsenal first team.
The likes of Nacer Barazite, Henri Lansbury, Sanchez Watts and Oquzhan Ozyakup all overflow with potential and talent and are touted as future Arsenal stars. Furthermore Aaron Ramsey has returned to full fitness after his horror leg break and is said to be in line for a comeback appearance in the coming days.
Rosicky is 29 and with the coming youngsters next to the lack of playing time, Little Mozart may have to depart in January.
2. Manuel Almunia
The Spaniard has had a torrid time at Arsenal since becoming the dominant keeper in 2008. It’s not that Almunia is a bad keeper, the 31-year-old merely has a tendency to make vital errors on consistent basis.
At a club that boast some of the fiercest, spoilt and judgmental fans in England, the former Celtico Vigo shot stopper has endured heavy criticism for his wayward goalkeeping despite being occasionally brilliant.
Last season was a particularly poor campaign for Almunia. As Arsenal slumped to a fifth successive season without securing silverware, the Spanish keeper received the majority of the blame due to his inability to provide a quality source in between the posts.
However, Arsene Wenger’s ability to attract a big name keeper in the recent summer ensured Almunia would receive another chance to make amends and sustain a place as Arsenal No. 1. After a relatively solid start, Almunia succumbed to a niggling elbow injury that has seen Arsenal’s No. 1 absent since September.
During his injury spell, deputy keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who has also endured his share of criticism, has come of age and proved his capability and worth as Arsenal dominant keeper. The Polish shot stopper has now overtaken Almunia as the lead keeper as well as boom youngster Wojceich Szczensy, who is touted as the next prestigious keeping talent in Europe, elevated to deputy.
Almunia looks like having little chance of receiving playing time and is destined for a long-awaited move out of North London.
3. Carlos Vela
The Mexican starlet screams potential and talent, but has been unable to force his way into the Arsenal first XI despite impressing in Cup tournaments. Famous for his 2008 hat trick against Sheffield United in the third round of the Carling Cup, the 21-year-old has achieved little else since making his debut the same year.
Occasionally receiving a Premier League appearance off the bench against cellar dwellers, Vela has been forced to patiently wait for mass injuries to occur. However, when the injury woes have appeared, the Mexico international is rarely called upon.
This season Vela has taken his few chances well with three goals in 12 appearances, nine of which has been off the bench. But with each match, it grows less and less likely the North American dynamo will finally break into the Arsenal side.
There is rumour Vela will depart the Emirates on loan to Bolton this month, but with a number of Spanish clubs from the La Liga eager to acquire the Mexican, Vela may just opt for a permanent move.
The Samba star often receives unfair and unwarranted criticism for his performances. Denilson epitomizes an underdog. Forever completing the hard work and simple aspects of his side performances, but failing to ever “wow” crowds with his dazzling footwork, speed and scoring like his teammates Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
The 23-year-old seems to be having his image diminished by fans recently and similar to Rosicky, with the amount of young guns emerging as well as defensive midfield starlets Craig Eastmond, Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong, Denilson may be forced out of the Emirates.
5. Mark Randall
Randall is a talented youngster who has failed to emerge out of the Arsenal youth academies and fulfil a role in the Arsenal first team. Randall is a strong, energetic, versatile midfielder with an incisive passing range and a ferocious shot. Blessed with great speed and strength, the 21-year-old has enjoyed some stellar loan spells in recent years, but unfortunately has never looked likely of playing properly with the first team.
Randall is currently on loan with League One side Rotherham United until the end of January. However, when the Englishman made his debut, he suffered a broken collarbone, keeping him out until December. If Randall can establish himself with Rotherham when he returns from injury, then a permanent move looks wise.
6. Vito Mannone
The Italian shot stopper received a long overdue loan spell to Championship side Hull City after Mannone was cruelly neglected by Wenger. The 22-year-old came to promise last season with an amazing display against Fulham. However, the former Atlanta keeper failed to receive any other opportunities, despite Lukasz Fabianski and Manuel Almunia’s poor efforts.
Fabianski has since returned to form whilst Wojciech Szczensy looks to have nailed down the deputy role. Meanwhile, Mannone has been hugely impressive whilst with Tigers, and manager Nigel Pearson is eager to secure the Italian’s services on a permanent basis. Mannone coud do much worse than signing with Hull City, as it appears his Arsenal tenure has ended.
7. Nicklas Bendtner
After a stellar 2009/2010, early injuries and the form of Marouane Chamakh has seen Bendtner struggling for consistent playing time, despite maintaining a strong goal ratio. The 22-year-old striker has expressed his frustration of lack of playing time, but retracted those comments last month. However, the imposing Dane is now competing with Chamakh and Dutch maestro Robin van Persie for the main striking role.
There is no denying Bendtner mass potential and talent, as well as his confidence and a number of clubs have shown interest, which could entice the Denmark international elsewhere.
However, Wenger is not a keen seller and if Arsenal form continues, the Frenchman will want a deep squad to rely upon. Only time will tell what’s to occur.