January – despite being the month of ‘cupsets’ and the Champions League return, it is widely renowned for the speculative ‘January transfer window’. As if Christmas didn’t give you enough, the upcoming month will be gift after gift as your beloved club does some shrewd business mid-season. But alas, we support Arsenal, a club famous for their ‘no January business policy’, in fact, sometimes for their no business at all policy! It’s going to be a constant battle of emotions for the next 24 days – from excitement to true heartache – especially when Cavani doesn’t join for £63m. With a depleted squad and insufficient defensive cover, it’s time to unravel the truth: Arsenal need 3 players this January in order to compete again.
3 is usually a lucky number, but in this case, just hopeful. With defensive players dropping like flies due to lengthy absences: Mikel Arteta and Laurent Koscielny to name a couple, this window should be a priority of scanning Europe for back-line brutes. So who is available in what position? Most clubs deem January a ‘stupid’ time to leave. With a club mid-way through their season, and finally gelling as a unit… why sell? There’s no denying we would like to sign Schniederlin, but why would he leave when he’s above us! So, positions… here we go.
Our priority may not lie here from a supporters POV, but to Wenger it does. Numerously calling up inadequate Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy to explore the role of centre-back, our defense needs a re-vamp in the central area. Possessing just two senior players and a developing 19 year-old, it’s time to find a player who could provide solid cover and push for a starting place. Preferably, a young but experienced centre-half would be best suited. Fabian Schar of FC Basel is an option with his contract running down and now would be the only time the Swiss club can cash in on him. Another alternative lies in the name of Loic Perrin, 29, of St Ettienne. Despite the facts and figures expressing him as Europe’s best, he’s not and he’s pretty old to be providing cover with hope of exceeding. A typical Wenger purchase, but one we wouldn’t turn down at 10:59 on January 31st! Finally, Winston Reid, out of contract this Summer has had his name thrown about with Arsenal being the likely suitor. Others may include Iturraspe – a carbon copy of Javi Martinez and Aymeric Laporte of Atletic Bilbao. Whatever happens in this enticing month, I’d fully expect a centre-half to arrive.
When you think watching Mathieu Flamini couldn’t get worse… it seems Arsene Wenger finally thought the same. In comes Francis Coquelin, and suddenly we have a midfield of the same caliber of 03-04. No. Francis is a cracking squad player, but not at the level we need to regularly start. Besides, he looks like he’s going to get sent off some time soon, the lunatic. This is a role that hasn’t been filled since the days of Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira. Abou Diaby had stint, but we all know the ambulance bells rang early for him. Lacking the physical bite and temper in our core, a player like William Carvalho would seem ideal. Spending the big bucks here would seem most wise. Acquiring a young, fruitful defensive midfielder could see us set for years… finally! William Carvalho may be available since his third-party ownership was recently destroyed, but if not we can set our sights elsewhere. Krystian Bielik looks set to join, but he’s not the commander we need to hit the ground running this month, is he?
Finally, you can’t loan out three forwards and sit around twiddling your thumbs, surely? Yaya Sanogo to Bordeaux (a poor move in fright that a PL club will not require his services), Joel Cambell to Villareal or Sociedad (another poor move, because he can’t spend his entire career on loan, and I actually quite like him), and Lukas Podolski to Inter – well, we may have just lost the ‘fun’ he provided on social media. As all other journalists are saying, it would be strange to sell and not to buy when we were happily stacked here before. Isco for £64m doesn’t seem too likely, whereas Xherdan Shaqiri is on the move, as could be Barcelona’s Pedro. Three dynamic speedstars that offer a lot to a club’s attacking presence. Dybala too, ‘the new Aguero’ has been linked, and would sure fill the holes left by our former postman.
But now it’s time to sit back and let it all unfold in front of us. Come on Wenger, listen to us at FreshArsenal.