Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a £32m move for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho in a bid to ease their injury nightmare following injuries to Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta which has now left Flamini as the only defensive midfielder in the team.
Wenger’s interest in 23-year-old Carvalho stretches back to the summer of 2014, when the Portuguese defensive midfielder enjoyed a rapid rise onto the European stage. With Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla sidelined for at least three months each, Wenger is unable to call on his first-choice midfielder pairing.
The Telegraph reports that while Carvalho is firmly on the radar, Wenger is reluctant to make such a big signing in January given he has only spent half that figure during the mid-season transfer window. The alternative would be to make one or two loan signings, although given the unsuccessful addition of Kim Kallstrom in 2014, Arsenal fans would predictably be very unhappy with the failure to bring in a top class midfielder at a time of desperation.
His woes are added to by the unavailability of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta, the former yet to play a minute of football this season due to a fractured leg while the latter suffered a recurrence of the calf injury he picked up earlier in the season during the 2-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion.
The injuries will likely force Wenger into the transfer window, given is only fit options in central midfield are Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey – the Welshman only just returning from injury himself. Calum Chambers could be deployed in a holding midfield role, but he is yet to convince in the unfamiliar position and his form this season has been nothing short of forgettable.
Having previously shown interest in Carvalho, the Sporting midfielder would fit the bill for the Gunners if they want to make a serious statement about their season ambitions. The Portuguese club are unwilling to sell Carvalho though, and it would take a bid of £32m to activate his release clause in order to open negotiations.
Wenger’s biggest outlay in the January transfer window remains the £17m he committed to signing Jose Antonio Reyez in 2004 and the same figure allocated to Andrey Arshavin’s move in 2009.