As we head towards the new year with our waistlines that little bit more stretched thanks to the festivities, news regarding Arsenal's potential activity in the January transfer window is growing in reliability.
Now, there's every chance the Gunners' outlook next month changes, but for now, it doesn't appear as if Mikel Arteta is set to oversee a particularly busy winter window.
Financial Fair Play (FFP) restraints are set to limit the club's spending, with The Athletic writing that much of Arsenal's 2024 business will be conducted in the summer. However, if the Gunners are to make a move in the January window, it's a defender that'll likely come in.
Arteta has discussed his limited options in defence following the injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jurrien Timber, but the particular nature of the profile the Spaniard appreciates means it's hard to gauge what type of defender the club could sign this winter.
The Athletic, however, have listed three possible options in 2024.
3 defenders Arsenal could sign in 2024
1. Nico Schlotterbeck
What we can be sure of is that Arteta loves a bit of versatility. In Ben White, Jakub Kiwior, Timber, and Tomiyasu, the Gunners boast defenders capable of playing at centre-back and full-back.
Borussia Dortmund's Schlotterbeck primarily operates on the left-side of defence, and has shown he's adept performing at left-back.
Arsenal are said to boast a 'long-term' interest in the German defender, and prising him away from Dortmund this winter is unlikely. Schlotterbeck is an elegant defender who's started all but one BVB's Bundesliga outings this season.
The 24-year-old's profile and left-footed preference, not to mention his value to Dortmund, render him an incredibly valuable asset. A summer move is undoubtedly more likely.
2. Matthijs de Ligt
De Ligt had the world at his feet when he captained Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19. The Dutchman has since joined Juventus and Bayern Munich, but it doesn't feel as if the centre-back is yet to reach his once lofty potential.
De Ligt is a throwback defender who was beginning to excel in Turin before he was shipped off to Bavaria for £68m in July 2022.
The athletic Dutchman is a physical specimen who simply adores the art of defending. There's an Italian element to his profile, and he really should still be at Juve. De Ligt has enjoyed impressive runs of form at Bayern, but the fierce competition at the heart of Thomas Tuchel's defence means he's not a regular starter.
I wouldn't be surprised if De Ligt departs Bayern in the summer, but I just don't see a move to Arsenal happening anytime soon.
3. Jorrel Hato
This is undoubtedly the most intriguing option of the bunch. Teenager Hato has been one of the bright spots for Ajax this term amid a torrid season, even captaining the Dutch giants on occastions.
Hato plays well beyond his years and has garnered a ton of interest from across Europe, including Arsenal.
The versatile defender who's drawn comparisons to Timber despite his left-footed preference has 18 months left on his deal at Ajax, and this is a move that could happen in January. However, the Gunners would be taking a risk by bringing in a teenager to potentially play a big role for the run-in this term.
However, there's no denying that any move for Hato in 2024 would be greatly beneficial for the long-term outlook of Arsenal's backline.