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Football London
Football London
Kaya Kaynak

Mudryk up top, Ndicka in defence: Arsenal's dream line up come January after £107m Edu spree

Few expected it, but as we head into the World Cup break Arsenal sit on top of the Premier League. The Gunners were in full swing but have now seen their momentum halted for the tournament in Qatar. While 10 of their players are away on international duty though, Mikel Arteta and Edu will have time to prepare for a January window where Arsenal could be busy.

"Of course, we can improve the team, we will always be looking to do that as a club," Arteta said last 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."

There are multiple areas where the Gunners might strengthen next month. Here takes a look at how they could line up after some smart winter deals.

READ MORE: Edu moves closer to first Arsenal January transfer as three clubs show Cedric Soares interest

It's worth noting that any Arsenal January signing would have to wait a bit before playing their first match. Unlike in the summer where new arrivals had pre-season tours of Germany and the USA to prepare themselves for the season, any January signings will have to come in after a warm-up programme.

The Gunners are set to play Watford in a behind closed doors friendly, before heading out to Dubai for some warm weather training and two friendlies against Lyon and AC Milan. They'll then be back in England for another match in north London against a Spanish side that could be Barcelona before they resume with the visit of West Ham on Boxing Day before another away game at Brighton on New Year's Eve.

That means the earliest any January transfer could be in action is when Arsenal host high-flying Newcastle on January 3 in the Premier League. It's currently unclear how many of the first team players who have been at the World Cup will be ready to play again.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba will all be hoping to go far in the tournament. The final in Qatar will be on December 18th and Arteta has promised that each player will get a period to recover depending on their individual situations.

With that in mind, its probably safe to assume that Ramsdale will be in goal when the Premier League return comes around. He will face up against his No. 2 Matt Turner of USA in the group stages for England, but with Jordan Pickford rightly or wrongly top choice in Gareth Southgate's eyes, and Nick Pope having played ahead of him in the friendlies in September, it seems unlikely Ramsdale will play a minute in Qatar, meaning he probably won't be given too much rest time.

Ben White is likely to play more though, so it could be a case that we see Takehiro Tomiyasu - whose Japan side are unlikely to get beyond a group containing Spain and Germany - drafted back in at right back. Neither Gabriel or Oleksandr Zinchenko are travelling to Qatar so we can assume they'll play, but with Saliba hoping to star for a France side who have their sights set on retaining their World Cup crown, there could be a space for a new signing to enter the fray.

Evan Ndicka has been linked with both Arsenal and Tottenham in recent months and would appear to fit the mould for the type of player the Gunners have tended to go for. He is just 23 but has been a regular at Eintracht Frankfurt for some time now and with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, it's possible that he could be available on the cheap at around £7m. Ndicka's left footedness also means that he could provide the kind of back up for Gabriel that Arsenal have been craving too going forward in the season.

Into midfield where neither Thomas Partey nor Granit Xhaka will expect to go too far in the tournament. We can assume they'll back by the time Newcastle comes around where Martin Odegaard will also be available after Norway's failure to qualify.

Up front though things could look a bit more different. Saka, Jesus and Martinelli have been Arsenal's preferred forward three this season, but there's a possibility all three make the latter stages of the tournament. None are guaranteed starters for their country, but with Emile Smith Rowe set to be back from his groin injury in the New Year, the burden on them to return quickly could be eased slightly.

Then there is also the possibility that Arsenal could have tempted Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykhaylo Mudryk to have joined the club by then. The Ukrainian winger has been quoted at a price of £100m by Shakhtar's technical director Darijo Srna, and it seems unlikely that Arsenal would be willng to pay that.

Should they come to an arrangement though, then Mudryk could be involved in the Gunners squad in January, giving Arteta the much needed extra firepower that he's been craving to secure an unlikely title bid.

Arsenal possible XI in January - Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, Ndicka, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Mudryk, Nketiah, Smith Rowe.


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