Arsenal’s star striker Gabriel Jesus is out until at least February after suffering a serious knee injury with Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.
Top of the table at Christmas, Arsenal are looking to push on after the World Cup break and launch a serious title challenge in the Premier League.
The Gunners were flying before top-flight football paused for Qatar 2022 but a serious knee injury sustained to Gabriel Jesus while playing for Brazil has threatened to derail them.
Arsenal are in the market for an attacking player to ease the workload on stand-in forward Eddie Nketiah and wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.
But who are The Gunners looking at? BTSport.com have assessed the players on Mikel Arteta’s radar this January transfer window.
Arsenal’s primary transfer target this January window is Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk with a bid already submitted for the 21-year-old.
While Mudryk is not a traditional No 9 and therefore not a direct replacement for Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal see the Ukrainian as an option to replace on Gabriel Martinelli on the left wing when needed.
Mudryk has played most of his minutes as a left attacking midfielder but can play centrally behind the striker too, meaning he could offer relief to a host of Arsenal players.
Arsenal are fighting on three fronts this season and with the workload already extremely high on Martinelli and Bukayo Saka plus an untimely injury to Reiss Nelson, extra depth is badly needed in those positions.
Mudryk has impressed with Shakhtar since breaking into the first team in 2018 but it wasn’t until his performances in the Champions League that Europe seriously started taking notice of the Ukrainian.
Three goals in six appearances at Europe’s top club competition in no doubt testing circumstances for Shakhtar has led to a host of teams pursuing his signature.
But Arsenal appear to be front-runners to sign the Ukraine international and saw a bid rejected out of hand ahead of the opening of the January transfer window.
Reports suggest personal terms have already been agreed between club and player and Mudryk has repeatedly stated the club to be his preferred destination.
On Boxing Day, Mudryk even went as far as to post himself watching Arsenal’s win over West Ham on social media to apply further pressure on his club.
But Shakhtar’s stated price tag for Mudryk is an astronomical £89million and director of football Darijo Srna made it clear he would not be going on the cheap.
“If somebody wants to have Mudryk in their team, they must pay,” said former Shakhtar player Srna. “They must respect us.”
The alternative is for Arsenal to sign a direct replacement for Jesus who would likely step in for back-up forward Eddie Nketiah to lead the line.
Joao Felix has emerged as a potential option after his club Atletico Madrid suggested the Portugal international would be free to leave the Spanish capital this window.
The 23-year-old signed from Benfica in the summer of 2019 for a fee of £119million, the fourth-highest fee in football at the time.
But despite some flashes of brilliance and lifting the league title in 2020/21, Felix is struggling to realise his potential in the limiting defensive system favoured at Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone.
A loan deal looks most likely for Felix and with Jesus likely to re-establish himself as Arsenal’s No 9 in the long term, could make sense for both parties.
The stipulations would involve an £8m loan fee for the six-month deal and Arsenal’s obligation to cover all of Felix’s wages while he’s at the club.
But The Gunners will face competition from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, particularly after the latter missed out on Cody Gakpo following the Dutchman’s move to Liverpool.
There are no strong links surrounding Arsenal and other targets this January. The Gunners made a late move for midfielder Douglas Luiz at the end of the summer window with the Brazilian running down his contract.
But Arsenal failed with a £25m bid and Luiz has since signed a four-year contract to extend his stay and the north Londoners’ interest has cooled.
Another option is AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer who has impressed since moving to the Italian giants and winning Serie A. The Algerian is a former Arsenal player having left in 2017 to sign for Empoli.
There are also reports Arsenal are one of a number of clubs keen on Real Valladoid defender Ivan Fresneda who is a Spain Under-19 international.