With a shock title race on the cards, this January transfer window promises to be a huge one for Arsenal. Few expected the Gunners to be anywhere near the top of the Premier League, but with a five point lead ahead of the resumption of league football on Boxing Day, Mikel Arteta has admitted that his side are going to be active.
"Of course, we can improve the team, we will always be looking to do that as a club," the Spaniard said earlier this month. "This window is unpredictable, especially with the World Cup in the middle. We will have a look and will try to make the squad stronger. We will be active because you don't know what will happen in the World Cup, touch wood, everyone will be ok."
Edu is understood to be on the look out for a central midfielder and a forward capable of playing across the front line to provide some much needed depth for Arteta. One other position Arsenal have been linked with strengthening in is at centre-back.
As things stand, the Gunners have three out-and-out centre-backs among their squad in Gabriel, William Saliba and Rob Holding, while Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu - who have spent most of the season at full-back - can play the position as well. While this may seem to put the position closer to the bottom of the priority list for Arsenal, Arteta's preference for a left footed centre-back cannot be ignored.
As things stand there is only one of these in the Gunners squad in Gabriel. Pablo Mari's loan move to AC Monza will be turned into a permanent deal worth around £5.9million should the Italian side stay up in Serie A where they currently sit nine points clear of the relegation zone, while Auston Trusty is yet to play a minute for Arsenal despite positive displays during his loan spell at Birmingham. With this in mind Arteta could be keen to add another come January.
Evan Ndicka of Eintracht Frankfurt has been linked to with a move to north London this winter, but another player who could be worth looking at is RB Leipzig's Josko Gvardiol. The Croatian international has impressed many including officials at Chelsea and Tottenham where football.london understands he has attracted interest, which would make any deal difficult.
However, with his displays in the World Cup so far, it may be something that Edu could look at to bolster his side's defensive ranks. Gvardiol is just 20-years-old, perfectly fitting the age profile Arsenal are trying to establish in their squad. And having played at left-back in the past, he possesses the capability of playing in wide areas that Arteta demands from his centre-backs. He is also excellent on the ball, having completed 166 passes so far in just two World Cup matches against Morocco and Canada.
It is thought that any deal to sign Gvardiol would be worth at least £70million, and having signed him to a new deal in August, RB Leipzig are in no hurry to sell. But with his impressive displays out in Qatar, the Croatian looks more and more like a player who could give Arsenal the defensive depth to bring home a first Premier League in 19 years.