Wenger aiming to bolster his attacking options
Arsenal manager seeking a short-term replacement for injured striker Theo Walcott
Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic (above right) is in the last six months of his contract at Old Trafford and his agent Silvano Martina has been quoted in Italy as ruling out a contract extension with the club at the end of the season. Photo: Matthew Peters/Getty Images
Arsene Wenger has instructed Arsenal’s scouting department to explore short-term signings as the manager considers securing a quick fix to bolster his attacking ranks after losing Theo Walcott for the remainder of the season.
The management and scouting staff have discussed the possibility of adding a forward to their options since scans confirmed Walcott will be out for at least six months after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage late on in Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
There is an acceptance, however, that the club will struggle to secure any of their primary forward targets before next summer at the earliest with those players’ employers either involved in European competition, embroiled in title pursuits or simply reluctant to sell mid-season.
There is interest in Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid and Jackson Martinez at Porto, as well as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and the Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic, whose position will be threatened next summer once Robert Lewandowski completes his free transfer from Borussia Dortmund.
Domestically, Wenger has also considered the merits of the Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko, though any bids for such candidates would prove fruitless this month.
The manager has conceded that prices are inflated in the winter window and would be reluctant to pay more than Arsenal’s valuation for such talent.
Instead, players such as Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata, the 21-year-old who has been somewhat underused this term, will again be scrutinised while soundings are taken from possible recruits in Russia where some clubs, most notably Anzhi Makhachkala, find themselves under financial pressure to sell.
Lille’s former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou has come under consideration with the player having made clear his desire to return to England, albeit he had envisaged making that move in the summer.
Yet even a short-term deal would be progressed only if Wenger determines that the incoming player would hit the ground running.
Nemanja Vidic could leave Manchester United for nothing in the summer, with the captain’s agent Silvano Martina ruling out a contract extension at the end of the season.
The defender has only six months remaining on his current deal, and although United plan to enter discussions over extending his stay, the Serbian is keeping his options open. If he does leave it would be yet another blow to manager David Moyes.