Arsenal are set to miss out on one of their hotly tipped transfer targets as Schalke frontman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has signed a new deal with the Bundesliga outfit – ending any speculation of a move away this winter. At the other end of the pitch Sunderland’s number one stopper Simon Mignolet has been earmarked as competition for Wojciech Szczęsny according to reports.
Firstly onto Huntelaar, who netted twice against Arsenal in the two ties in the Champions League, and seemed a high possibility this winter with his existing contract expiring next summer.
The Dutchman, who enjoyed a stellar campaign last season notching the Bundesliga golden boot with 29 goals, has put pen to paper on an extended deal that will see him remain in Germany until 2015.
The Daily Mail reported that the 29-year-old said:
I have thought long and hard about this decision and I am very grateful to my managers at Schalke 04, who have have given me this time.
But now I have made the decision, in which I have the best feeling. I’ve always felt comfortable at Schalke, the club and its fans.
I now want to put a positive sign, because I believe in our team and the fact that we are in the second round in the Bundesliga is a great prize. And we are in the knockout stages of the Champions League against Galatasaray.
The news is quite a blow for many Gooners that were expecting a busy winter window with a couple of big names coming in including Huntelaar’s.
The striker has not been quite as prolific this season, with 11 goals in 25 matches and there were questions as to whether he could hack the physicality of the Premier League, but at a rumoured £6m he could have been a bargain.
It is no secret that the Gunners are requiring a new striker this winter, especially with Theo Walcott’s contractual negotiations still not resolved and Olivier Giroud struggling with injury, illness and has not hit the high notes as of yet.
Second-rate duo Gervinho and Chamakh are both away for the entirety of January at least for the African Nations Cup, and as the short term loan move of Thierry Henry is in serious doubt, the winter window could prove vital for the Gunners season – purchases will need to be acquired as quickly as possible.
Another position that the Gunners will need to reinforce soon is between the sticks. Wojciech Szczęsny is Arsenal’s out and out number one despite being only 22-years-old, however with his compatriot Łukasz Fabiański facing an inevitable departure (his contract expires next summer) Wenger needs a backup goalkeeper with the ability to challenge Szczęsny.
According to The Metro Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet is attracting interest from the Gunners as a possible candidate after a successful campaign last season and is in form this term in the Premier League.
Vito Mannone has been the deputy so far this season in the absence of the injured Fabiański and did impress when given the chance at times, but according to the report he could be seeking a move away this winter back to his native Italy in a bid to secure regular game time.
Mignolet is reportedly worth a cheap £5m and the lure of Champions League football will help to convince the Belgian international to join the Emirates, however Chelsea are also interested but they already have a younger version of Mignolet in Thibaut Courtois.
The 24-year-old will be a very good alternative to the expensive Pepe Reina of Liverpool as he has enjoyed a fruitful season so far, but Wenger needs someone with more experience to challenge Szczęsny. Therefore the Liverpool stopper would be a far better option but Arsenal would never fork out for the Spaniard.
Mignolet could potentially be a good acquisition for the summer time as he is a fully fledged Belgian international, is young but has a decent amount of experience and is purchasable at a relatively low price. But there is no rush to buy a goalkeeper this winter, especially with Mignolet continually developing and learning with Sunderland this season.