Arsenal’s solitary marquee investment this summer has been the much needed Petr Čech from champions Chelsea. But in midfield, Mikel Arteta’s contract extension seems to have dampened hopes of any potential recruitment for a defensive mid, with many names having been linked with a move to the Emirates, including William Carvalho.
Arsenal’s midfield has been frequently discussed over the years, as the common conception is that Arsène Wenger has failed to adequately replace Patrick Vieira. An argument against such claims is that Abou Diaby’s arrival in 2006 was a step towards a direction in matching Vieira’s playing style, if it weren’t for his cursed injury fortunes.
Now with Diaby gone, we’re left with Arteta and Flamini to provide cover for the very impressive Francis Coquelin; Arteta’s ageing body evidently got the better of him last season with a number of hamstring injuries, and Flamini is visibly a player in decline.
The likes of Lars Bender, Javier Martinez and surprisingly Sergio Busquets have all been linked with the Gunners this summer. But the one name which probably excites Arsenal fans the most is William Carvalho.
The 23 year-old was one of the stand-out performers of this year’s Euro Under 21’s championship, who was instrumental in helping Portugal reach the final. His muscular 6ft 2 frame means he is definitely physically astute, and arguably the next best thing to a Patrick Vieira we could get, (apart from the stratospherically expensive Paul Pogba).
Arsenal already has a wealth of midfield talent at its disposal, but the only physical presence we have is a certain 24 year-old Frenchman – our modern-day Gilberto Silva. This is of course a good thing, but we’re still missing that gangly striding Yaya Toure-like person, whose able to travel from box to box. Our midfielders are all very much creative and quite short.
When Mikel Arteta first arrived from Everton, he was known to be a box-to-box midfielder, who was able to score goals from open play. It wasn’t until his second season at Arsenal, that Wenger gave him a deep lying role to play. He isn’t a natural born defensive midfielder, with age and consistent fitness not in his favour.
If we don’t acquire the services of Carvalho this summer, we cannot afford to miss out on another talent like his to our biggest rivals next year, when he is most likely to move. Morgan Schneiderlin has already joined Manchester United, and you can bet your house Carvalho won’t play the entirety of his career at Sporting.
He is definitely a long-term addition to our midfield, who would bring more physicality and more bite to our ranks. He’s undoubtedly the Arsenal’s missing link.