Arsene Wenger finalises January targets as Arsenal hand him £20m

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Arsenal will hand Arsene Wenger £20 million to spend in the January transfer window as he attempts to turn a disappointing start to the season around, reports The Mirror.

The Gunners boss has put a new centre-back at the top of his shopping list and will put plans to sign a new defensive midfielder on hold until next summer. More money is likely to be made available in order to make big signings once the season has finished.

For now, Wenger is focussed on correcting the mistakes he made in the summer. The Frenchman has come to realise what a grave error he made not replacing Thomas Vermaelen that may have cost Arsenal the chance to challenge Chelsea for the title.

Sunday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of Swansea is the latest example of how woefully thin Wenger's defensive options are. Nacho Monreal has struggled to adapt to a central role and was also found wanting in the 3-3 draw against Anderlecht.

Shortlist finalised 

With the transfer window set to open in the new year, Wenger is hoping to get a deal done as soon as possible. He has already finalised a three-man shortlist in the hope of landing one.

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Celtic Virgil van Dijk and Manchester United defender Chris Smalling are two priorities while he could land Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar on the cheap if the Holland international refuses to extend his contract.

Marquee signing impossible

Reported interest in Borussia Dortmund star Mats Hummels appear wide of the mark, at least halfway through the season. Wenger will again target big names in the summer transfer window so long as Arsenal make it into the all-important Champions League places.

Arsenal will certainly have to improve if they are to do that. So far they have won just four of their opening 11 Premier League games in what has been Wenger's second worst start to a season in north London.

The loss against Swansea followed disappointing draws against Leicester and Hull to leave them trailing Premier League pacesetters Chelsea by 12 points.

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