Arsene Wenger is believed to be keen on signing Kyriakos Papadopoulos in January, but would he pay £11million for a player who hasn’t kicked a ball since November?
An opening day 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa looked to have signaled dark days ahead at the Emirates Stadium, but it’s fair to say the Gunners have bounced back from this setback in some style. Not only have they eased past Fenerbahce to reach the UEFA Champions League proper, but they have won all three of their subsequent Premier League matches.
Not only this, but after being urged by supporters to ‘spend some f*****g money’ following that loss to Paul Lambert’s side, Wenger went and smashed the club transfer record by paying £42.5million for Ozil. The signing of the former Real Madrid playmaker sparked scenes of jubilation in the red half of North London, and the German international showed his class by setting up a goal after just 11 minutes of his debut on Saturday.
Whilst the Gunners are flying high in the table – only Liverpool have collected more points – it is widely accepted that they are still at least a couple of players short of mounting a genuine bid for the title. But if they can stay within touch of the leading pack until the New Year, when the window reopens again, maybe they can be contenders.
It looks as though Wenger will be given more cash to spend on his options in January, and according to the Daily Express, he has set his sights on a deal for Papadopoulos. The Schalke defender was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer, with some reports suggesting a deal had been agreed for the 21-year-old before Brendan Rodgers decided to take Mamadou Sakho from Paris St Germain for £15million instead.
It is likely that the Anfield boss decided against the Greek international due to a serious knee injury he picked up last November, which he is still recovering from. But the British tabloid, stating reports from Italy as its source, claim this hasn’t deterred Wenger, who is willing to add him to his Gunners back four options when the winter window opens.
However, it would be something of a surprise if the French coach meets the £11million asking price for the former Olympiakos youngster, for at least two reasons. The first of which is the obvious situation surrounding his injury; and the second is that even if Papadopoulos has games under his belt by this time, some of these are likely to include UEFA Champions League action which would make him ineligible in the competition for Arsenal, should they, of course, negotiate their way through a tricky Group F.
If Wenger has made him mind up that the Greek, who stands a little over 6ft tall, is the man he wants to help bolster his defence, then it is more likely he would either wait until the end of the season, or look to take him on an initial loan deal for the remainder of the campaign with the view to signing him permanently during the summer of 2014.