The summer transfer window saw Arsenal acquire the services of five new players. Four of the players were bought as replacements; Right-Back Mathieu Debuchy replaced Bacary Sagna, Goalkeeper David Ospina in for the departing Lukasz Fabianski and versatile Defender Calum Chambers was brought in to cover both the Right-Back and Centre-Back positions after Carl Jenkinson was loaned out and Thomas Vermaelen joined Barcelona.
The fourth replacement, and last of the summer acquisitions, Danny Welbeck was signed after Olivier Giroud was ruled out for four months after breaking his foot against Everton. Alexis Sanchez, who has proved to be one of the star signings of the summer, was the only real addition. So, on a surface level, Arsenal looked to have strengthened well. However, many fans were left disillusioned with the club’s failure to purchase a definitive Centre-Back replacement for Thomas Vermaelen and a strong, imposing Defensive Midfielder.
These are two positions that many Arsenal fans, including myself, believe need to be strengthened in January. Even if you could argue that Calum Chambers was signed as replacement for Vermaelen, Carl Jenkinson’s loan move to West Ham United and Mathieu Debuchy’s injury has ultimately pushed the 19-year-old England international out to Right-Back. With Laurent Koscielny also injured, the only first-team Centre-Back left is off-form Per Mertesacker, meaning Left-Back Nacho Monreal has had to partner Mertesacker at the back. The partnership these two have conjured up has certainly been uninspiring, and they have conceded five goals in the last two, equally shambolic games, against Anderlecht and Swansea City. It’s a bit unfair that Monreal is being made a scapegoat for this, as Centre-Back is not his preferred position and Arsene Wenger is ultimately to blame. It really is a crisis at the back. So who could we sign?
In a previous article (https://fresharsenal.com/3-centre-backs-arsenal-sign-january-solve-defensive-crisis/) I suggested Sevilla’s Aymeric Laporte, FC Basel’s Fabian Schär and Schalke’s captain Benedikt Howedes as possible targets. Borussia Dortmund’s Mat Hummels, VfB Stuttgart’s Antonio Rüdiger and Manchester City’s Matija Nastasić have also been linked with moves to the Emirates.
The Defensive Midfield position has been a talking point among Arsenal fans for a very long time. Some fans believe that we haven’t had a capable Defensive Midfielder since Gilberto Silva, who left in 2008. There have been a number of players who have been utilised in the role since (Alex Song, Denilson, Emmanuel Frimpong, Mathieu Flamini), but to no avail. Mikel Arteta has been often used there the last few seasons but he is actually an attacking midfield player by trade, and therefore has had limited success in the role. A few players who could play in the role have been linked with Arsenal though, including Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho, Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak and Bayern Leverkusen’s Lars Bender. Personally, if I was Arsene Wenger I would go all out for £35-million rated Carvalho, who can also cover at Centre-Back if needed (but hopefully he wouldn’t need to).
So, what do you think? How many players do Arsenal need to sign in January? And most importantly, who would you sign to turn Arsenal’s season around? Comment below and let us know!