Transfer round-up: Nketiah, Balogun, Auba, Kola, AMN, Zakaria & more

January has landed, the transfer window is open and Mikel Arteta is “expecting some activity”. It remains to be seen whether that constitutes anything more exciting than packing a few players off on loan, but who knows…with a Champions League finish still on the cards, it’s possible we could look to strengthen, especially with four players away at the African Cup of Nations.

Here’s our first rumour round-up of 2022…

Eddie Nketiah

We know Eddie is a free agent in the summer, we know we’re trying to persuade him to stay and we know he’s not short of suitors. Now that it’s January, the 22-year-old is free to talk to foreign clubs and the Daily Mail claim Bayer Leverkusen are first in the queue. The Germans were linked with the striker back in July but the prospect of getting their man on a free is reason enough to try again. Any English club wanting Nketiah will have to pay a tribunal fee.

Folarin Balogun

Per Mertesacker has already confirmed that the Gunners will send the 20-year-old out on loan in January, it’s really a case of finding him a suitable temporary home. According to Sky Sports, Middlesbrough are keen with manager Chris Wilder renewing the interest in the striker that he had while in the dugout at Sheffield United. Boro are just outside the Championship play-off places and will no doubt face stiff competition from other sides in England’s second tier.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Can the rift with our deposed club captain be healed? Mikel Arteta has shown little mercy since the early-December disciplinary breach and it’s possible the club could try and cash in on a player earning £350,000 a week. Barcelona, despite their financial problems, were touted as one option while the Mirror have suggested newly-minted Newcastle could take a punt on a loan deal with an option to buy in the summer.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

We’re still expecting perennial window shoppers AS Roma to sign Ainsley on loan although, according to the Liverpool Echo, Everton haven’t yet given up. The Toffees made a move for the midfielder in the summer only for an offer to be rebuffed; a decision that riled the player enough that he moaned about it on social media. The below rating is based on Everton’s interest versus that of the Italians.

Sead Kolasinac

We’re a bit late to the party on this but the Evening Standard claimed last week that Watford could borrow Sead until the end of the season so long as Arsenal subsidise the Bosnian’s wages. Behind Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares in the left-back pecking order, there’s no reason to keep the 28-year-old, who is back fit after an ankle injury, while we wait for his contract to end in the summer.

Douglas Luiz

If Ainsley leaves and Mo Elneny follows him out of the door in the summer, Arsenal are surely going to be in the market for a midfielder sooner rather than later. The Sun claims that Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz is a potential target. The Brazilian, once of Manchester City, has 18 months on his current deal and could be approached this month while Thomas Partey is at the AFCON. It all seems a bit far-fetched, not least because Villa are unlikely to want to sell one of their best players.

Denis Zakaria

Another option could be Switzerland international Denis Zakaria. Fussball Transfers (you have to admire a name that does exactly what it says on the tin) claims Arsenal are already in contact with the 25-year-old who is out of contract at Borussia Moenchengladbach in the summer. Mind you, they also list Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus, Inter Milan and AS Roma as options – so they’ve covered their bases.