By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal will send a scout to watch all of William Carvalho’s pre-Christmas matches as they weigh up a January move for the midfielder, Football Insider sources understand.
The Sporting Lisbon star is top of the Gunners’ target list to beef up a midfield that will be without anchorman Francis Coquelin for three to six months.
An Arsenal scouting source has told Football Insider that the club are going to monitor Carvalho in every match before the festive break and if the reports are positive, Arsene Wenger could make a January swoop for the player.
The 23-year-old has been on Arsenal’s radar in recent years, with the Londoners coming within a whisker of signing him on the final day of the summer 2014 transfer window.
A shin injury ruled Carvalho out last summer but he is fully recovered and has been playing regularly for the Portugese club since returning to action in late September. Arsenal are keen for the Portugal international, a former target of Manchester United, to prove his fitness before making a bid for a player valued in excess of £20million.
Speaking at his media briefing on Monday ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League clash against Dynamo Zagreb, Wenger confirmed that, as revealed by Football Insider on Sunday afternoon, Coquelin will be out until well into 2016 with a knee injury.
The Arsenal manager, who will also be without Mikel Arteta as well as long-term midfield absentee Jack Wilshere for Tuesday’s Champions League showdown, revealed he will consider rookie defender Calum Chambers as an emergency midfielder as he assesses options for the anchorman role.
He said: “We have players that can play in [Coquelin’s] position. Chambers has been educated in that position.”
However, Wenger will consider signing a replacement in the winter window if scan results show that Coquelin will not feature much for the remainder of the campaign.
He explained: “I’ll do what’s needed in January even though in January it is not an ideal transfer market.”