Benedikt Howedes added to Arsenal transfer shortlist

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has added Bundesliga stars Benedikt Howedes and Luiz Gustavo to a new three-man shortlist he players to monitor with a view to one final summer swoop, according to The Telegraph.

Wenger has already spent the best part of £60m on four additions to his squad during the close season, but would ideally like one more versatile option to bolster his defensive options before the transfer window slams shut.

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Howedes and Gustavo fit the bill and have been targeted alongside Portuguese midfield enforcer William Carvalho as the final piece of the puzzle at the Emirates this season, but only if they come with an affordable price tag.

Howedes interest is new

Wenger has been tracking both Gustavo and Carvalho for some time, but his interest in Schalke captain Howedes is fresh and has been prompted by Thomas Vermaelen's £15m exit to Barcelona.

Howedes is a hugely experiences central defender who also proved at the World Cup that he can be equally effective as a full-back, a consistent feature of Germany's march towards glory in Brazil.

The Gunners definitely needs a new centre-back and the 26-year-old could fit the bill, although try telling that to a Schalke side who have their defensive talisman under contract until 2017.

Enforcer also targeted

Arsenal have long been criticised for not targeting a midfield powerhouse and it looks like Wenger would agree to some extent, with Carvalho in particular the kind of tough-tackling but technically gifted talent that merits comparisons with a young Patrick Vieira.

A safer pair of hands would be Gustavo, a player Wenger tried to sign last January but eventually passed due to competition from Wolfsburg, who payed more than £20m to sign the Brazil international and would expect to make a healthy profit if they are forced to cash in this summer.

Carvalho looks a more realistic proposition though, available for around £24m but with his best years ahead and score to improve considerably with exposure to the Champions League.

Time is running out though and centre-back must surely be a priority for Wenger, who is on record as stating that he wants one more summer signing who can play in multiple positions to make sure Arsenal aren't caught short in their quest for Premier League glory this season.

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