Wenger Handed £35m to Find Van Persie Replacement in January – Report

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By Adrian Back | October 11, 2012 7:24 PM EST

Arsenal have handed manager Arsene Wenger a £35million transfer budget so that he can bring another striker to the club during the January transfer window. 

The Daily Mail reports that Wenger has made it a priority to find a replacement for Robin van Persie and has told his network of scouts to identify realistic targets that would be prepared to move in the New Year.

It is reported that Wenger will sit down with his backroom team in order to try and identify the striker who can help Arsenal win their first piece of silverware since the FA Cup triumph back in 2005.

Arsenal did supplement Maroune Chamakh with forwards Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud in the summer, but it seems Wenger still believes another striker is needed in order to truly challenge on all fronts.

When he looks at the two Manchester clubs, both sides now have four top class striker to choose from, while there is little in reserve for Arsenal after Nicklas Bendtner was sent on a season-long loan and Carlos Vela was sold to Real Sociedad.

The Mail believes that Wenger may well look to Spain in order to find a suitable striker, with Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente and Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez both on the radar.

Llorente has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and has now entered the final 12 months of his contract and could well be available in a cut-price deal in January.

The Spain international has a fantastic record both domestically and in Europe where he scored seven goals to help Bilbao reach the final of the Europa League last season.

With plenty of experience at international level, Llorente would offer Wenger a natural target man, with his powerful 6ft 5" frame making him a difficult opponent for any defender.

Lopez does not have as much experience on the international stage, with just two caps for Spain, but he did help fire Atletico to the Europa League crown last season as they defeated Llorente's Bilbao in the final.

Far from a prolific striker, Lopez usually supports a central figure and would most likely work in tandem with either Podolski or Giroud.

The Mail has also reported that there could also be a clear-out of players who are no longer needed at the club, with the likes of Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Johan Djourou all possibly leaving Arsenal in January. 

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