Wenger is looking to bring a couple of players in and if one of them counts as a certain Polish youngster then I wouldn’t expect much. Winter transfer budgets won’t be much more than £20m and that is not enough to secure a Schneiderlin, a player fans feel could end a long wait. There is a real lack of phyiscal presence in the team. A centre back and defensive midfielder are two positions where physicality is a very important factor.
It’s confirmed from Wenger that Krystian Bielik is close to joining Arsenal and is having a medical today. It is thought that he will go straight into the first-team, joining Zelalem, who like Bielik is only 17. He hasn’t played a league game and has only made two first-team appearances for Arsenal. But is Bielik ready to take the role? He himself does not think so. So does his soon to be former manager. I don’t think so either. He’s got talent for sure but he’s still a prodigy at best and despite us spending half the window to secure him, I’d be surprised if he is not kicking about with Zelalem for the Youth teams in the near future. I hope the new Vieira tag is a blessing rather than a jinx.
If the boss isn’t part of the ‘New Year, New me’ trend then it would take a Diaby return or in this case Coquelin to rule out a signing of a defensive midfielder. Like Abou Diaby, Francis Coquelin has come available for Arsenal at the right in time for the window, and is performing well too. I think Coquelin has a future at Arsenal but he will be truly tested if he starts against Manchester City on Sunday. A World-class Defensive midfielder is needed and the french enforcer can still make a great squad player if first 11 doesn’t work out for him. I quite like the look of Moussa Sissoko and William Carvalho, but we’ve been linked with the latter for so long it’s getting an M’Vila ring to it.
We’re also linked with players like Gündôgan, who as much of how highly I rate him, he’s not what we need. He’s a box to box midfielder and if we want Ramsey or Wilshere to have a chance of regular playing time then this would make it harder for them. We have actually got enough midfielders as it is, with a few likely to leave in the summer we maybe able to afford to wait till then to buy a new one.
Now to look at Centre back situation. I for one was not too angry at the sale of Vermaelen at all. Vermaelen was not getting into the team and he’s a player who wants first team football. Ridiculously injury-prone as Barca have now realised. Made sense. What was infuriating to find out that by the end of the summer window was that he was not replaced. Chambers can play CB, yes. But he’s been thrown into the deep end because we’ve sold ourselves short. A player like him has great potential but he needs to be brought into the team slowly. Even Wenger realised that Calum was overplayed, and he should know exactly why he was overplayed.
Vermaelen deal was reported to be worth around £15m, that’s enough to get a Van Dijk surely or any one of similar quality. Arsene has always been a man to only but if he feels will better team, and in an attempt to try and agree with that, are players like Reid or Van Dijk Top 3 or title-winning quality? A transfer that could make the top teams a bit jealous? A Hummels? Still a long shot but I can dream. Preferably a left-sided centre back.
You’ve also got to take into account that the January window is saturated. Top players are likely to be cup-tied. Teams are unwilling to sell mid-season unless for an inflated price tag, It is difficult finding a satisfactory replacement for important players sold in such a smaller time frame with games in between. You don’t tend to get top players moving around at this time, and Arsenal shouldn’t force themselves into buying someone who isn’t going good enough or is past it, but is just adding numbers to the squad and its wage bill. Loans come useful at this time. Micah Richards on loan with a permanent option would be my tip if there isn’t any half decent left-footed centre backs available for loan.
The need for a defender is more than the need for a midfielder at the moment as Arsenal are always one defensive (Koscielny) injury away from a catastrophe.