Arsene Wenger is expected to revive his interest in Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso as soon as next month’s transfer window opens to compensate for the loss of club captain Cesc Fabregas.
Spain midfielder Fabregas will be sidelined until April, with partially ruptured medial ligaments and his absence will been keenly felt at Villa Park today.
Aston Villa, third in the table, are the club posing the biggest threat to Arsenal’s perennial occupation of a top four place under Wenger.
They will now be looking to complete their first double over the Gunners since the inception of the Premier League and open up a six point gap.
Arsenal’s title chances without Fabregas, who will miss 25 games if the gloomiest predictions regarding his length of absence are correct, could have to be salvaged by a move for his international colleague.
Alonso was the subject of a £14 million (US$21 million) deadline day bid in August, but Arsenal manager Wenger refused to meet Liverpool’s valuation of £17 million and the deal collapsed.
Ironically, it was Alonso’s tackle in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend that has created the void in Arsenal’s midfield and Wenger is also considering Barcelona’s Yaya Toure, Juventus youngster Sebastian Giovinco and Stephane Mbia of Rennes, who claims to have been the subject of a failed 11th-hour bid from Arsenal in August.
New Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis will take up his post on Jan. 1 and brings with him great experience in player contract negotiations from America.
Wenger is being encouraged by the Arsenal board to spend, the Frenchman saying: “We are now more likely to buy in January.”
Inaki Ibanez, Alonso’s agent, has left the door open to a move by stating ambiguously: “We will see what happens in January.”
Arsenal will also be without the suspended Emmanuel Adebayor for their trip to the Midlands.