Benedikt Howedes
Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger has targeted Benedikt Howedes as the man to strengthen the Gunners' back four ahead of the January transfer windowReuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reportedly earmarked Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes as the player he wants to bring in to strengthen his back four.

According to the Mirror, the Gunners boss is keen to strengthen his back four in the upcoming winter transfer window and has revived his interest in the German international defender.

The north London club have had major injury problems to their defenders and are currently without first-choice defender Laurent Koscielny and backup Nacho Monreal, leaving Per Mertesacker and youngster Calum Chambers as the only defenders available.

The French manager revealed after Saturday's 4-1 win over Newcastle United, which saw Arsenal play right-back Mathieu Debuchy in centre-back due to Calum Chambers' suspension, that he will sign a defender during the January transfer window, to cover the loss of the French international defender, who is set to be sidelined for a few weeks with an Achilles injury.

Howedes, who has two years remaining on his contract could be available for a fee of around £15m and his close friendship with Gunners vice-captain Mertesacker should help in convincing him to move from Germany to the Emirates Stadium.

The 26-year-old defender, who won the World Cup with Germany earlier this year in Brazil, can play either at centre-back or at left-back a quality that is sure to further impress the Arsenal boss.

Howedes, was linked with a move to Arsenal during the summer transfer window, but distanced himself from a move and pledged his immediate future to the Bundesliga club.

However, the German international did admit that he is keen on a move abroad in the future and with Schalke currently in sixth place in the Bundesliga, he might be tempted to move to England and join compatriots Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium.