Wenger turns to versatile Schalke defender to give Arsenal title boost

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Bendikt Howedes has emerged as a candidate to join Arsenal as Arsene Wenger steps up his search to replace Thomas Vermaelen.

With just Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal as cover for first-choice centre backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, the Gunners boss revealed after Sunday’s 3-0 Community Shield victory over Manchester City that he is in the market for defensive cover.

The Frenchman wants to add a player who can play central defence, full-back and even fill in midfield, to his squad before the transfer window slam shuts and Howdes looks to fit the bill.

The Schalke captain’s renowned for his versatility, starring for Germany during their successful World Cup campaign at left-back but the 26-year-old is equally as adept in central defence.

He has featured regularly at the heart of the defence during his 166 games for Schalke but has also filled in central midfield in the past.

While any potential move to Arsenal, who are 13/2 with Ladbrokes to win the Premier League,  would provide excellent cover for Wenger’s squad, the German international, who has made 28 appearances for his country, would also provide plenty of experience and leadership to a squad accused of lacking leaders in the past.

A potential stumbling block could be the fact Howedes only signed a new contract with Die Königsblauen last season and with that deal running to 2017 it could take a substantial bid to prise him away from the Veltins-Arena.

It also remains to be seen whether the Schalke skipper would be prepared to give up his starting spot and the captaincy at the Gelsenkirchen outfit to head to north London to challenge Mertesacker, Koscielny and Chambers for a place in the Gunners’ starting XI.

But with German colleagues Lukas Podoloski, Mesut Ozil and Mertesacker all at the club they could play a vital part in tempting Howedes away from the Bundesliga.

Should a deal for Howedes not come to fruition Arsenal, who have been boosted from 7/4 to 9/4 by Ladbrokes to win a major trophy this season, are reportedly still looking at deals to bring either William Carvalho or Luis Gustavo to the Emirates Stadium.

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

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