After Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa, Arsenal are now in a position that has been inevitable for the last few weeks. The Gunners are attempting to strengthen their squad with late bids before the transfer window closes. In most cases, a single defeat cannot suffice a panic situation, but Arsenal are a different matter.
Fans who were promised that a large sum of money was available, have been disappointed to see the only player come into Arsenal is youngster Yaya Sanago, who has spent more time on the treatment table than he has playing in his short career so far. This coupled with the fact Arsenal let seventeen players go, albeit youngsters and unwanted fringe players, has meant the Arsenal squad is extremely light. As well as their thin squad, Arsenal currently have a number of injuries. Monday saw Arsenal bid a derisory £10m for Yohan Cabaye, which would be a decent signing for the Gunners. A number of other players have been mooted out as possible signings.
Defensively, Arsenal are extremely light and many feel lacking in quality. The club only have three recognised centre backs at in Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen. Youngster Ignasi Miquel and Johan Djourou have both been sent out on loan, and with Vermaelen currently injured, defensive cover should be a priority for Arsene Wenger. In recent days, Arsenal have been linked with Swansea’s captain Ashley Williams and Manchester City’s Micah Richards. Whilst Williams may be tempted by the step up to a bigger club in England, Richards would only likely be interested if first team chances at City became limited. Richards’ versatility could be of great use to Arsenal, but his injury record could make the North London club reluctant to make an offer for his services.
Many Arsenal fans have been calling for the club to sign a more defensive midfielder. Mikel Arteta performed admirably in that role last season, but Arsenal may need a more traditional defensive midfielder to occupy that position. The fact that Arsenal have bid for Cabaye means they would like Arteta, when he returns from injury, to continue in that role. Cabaye at his best is extremely creative but he’s also not afraid to get involved in the physical aspect of the game, and could be of use to Arsenal. Spurs, City, United and Chelsea have an abundance of players in many positions and this is something Arsenal do not have. The signing of Cabaye can be seen as a move to bring more depth and quality to Arsenal’s squad. Sevilla’s Geoffrey Kondogbia has also been suggested as a possible target. The young Frenchman was an integral part of France’s U20 World Cup winning side and would bring physicality to Arsenal’s midfield. Despite this, Sevilla have already sold Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo and will be unlikely to want to sell the talented midfielder.
The one position that Arsenal urgently need to sign is a striker. After failing to capture Gonzalo Higuain and the pursuit of Luis Suarez coming unstuck, there are no more proven strikers for the Gunners to sign. Rumours have been flying of a £25m bid for Swansea’s Michu, a player Swansea signed last summer for £2m. Michu was fantastic in the Premier League last season, but whether he could propel Arsenal into a title winning side is unlikely. Another area Arsenal may need to strengthen is on the wing. Reports say Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for three months, and this leaves Arsenal with Theo Walcott as the only experienced direct option on the wing. Along with Tottenham, Arsenal have been linked with Erik Lamela. The Roma winger managed fifteen goals in Serie A last season from a wide position, and would be a great addition to any side being only twenty-one.
Whether Arsenal will be quick and savvy enough to move and sign any of these options remains another matter. Arsenal have already missed out on Higuain, Luis Gustavo and if you believe the rumours, Bernard who went to Shakhtar. What is evident is that Arsenal need to sign players or face being left behind by their rivals. With Arsenal’s sluggish attitude in the transfer market, it remains difficult to see if they can bring in any real quality. The clubs recruitment in a rushed manner in 2011 saw flops Andre Santos and Park Chu-Young join the club, and Arsene Wenger will be unlikely to do business in such a manner again. There is no doubt that Arsenal fans will be looking out day and night to see if their club are able to bring anyone into the club.