Cazorla blow throws Portugal star onto Arsenal radar

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger looks to be almost forced to go into the January transfer window following the news that Santi Cazorla is set to be out until March.

The Spaniard suffered a knee injury in the Gunners’ 1-1 draw with Norwich, and Wenger is already without midfielders Mikel Arteta, Francois Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere, while Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have only just returned to first-team action.

Despite picking up two points from their last three games, Arsenal remain second favourites for this season’s Premier League at 10/3 with Ladbrokes, but Wenger sorely needs to bring in some reinforcements when January’s transfer window opens.

High on that list appears to be Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho and Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender.

Arsenal were close to signing Carvalho in the summer, but the Portugal international suffered a fractured leg during a summer in which he was named player of the tournament at the European U21 Championships in the Czech Republic.

The 23-year-old has since returned and slotted in well to the Sporting first-team, and they currently lead the Portuguese Premier League.

Sporting are thought to be keen on keeping their star midfielder until next summer, with the hope that the European Championships in France may attract further suitors, however it’s believed an Arsenal bid of around £30m this January would be enough to warrant consideration from the Lisbon club.

Sporting’s reluctance to sell means Wenger may have to look elsewhere and German side Leverkusen seem ready to offload skipper Lars Bender to north London.

Leverkusen chairman Michael Schade has previously stated Bender was not for sale, but has recently made a significant U-turn.

Schade has been quoted in the press suggesting the 26-year-old midfielder could be on the move should a top club make an approach.

The German international would recognise a few familiar faces at the Emirates in Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil, and would certainly go some way to adding much-needed numbers to Wenger’s depleted midfield.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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