Three positions still left to be strengthened at Arsenal
Arsenal have had a fairly good transfer window up to now with the arrivals of Sánchez, Debuchy, Ospina and Chambers. To ensure a sustained challenge for the title, however, there are still some positions that Arsenal need strengthening in.
The most glaring void in Arsenal’s squad is in defensive midfield. Mikel Arteta isn’t a bad option for the weaker teams, but when playing the top sides, especially away from home, he really struggles. His positional play is not at the level of a natural holding player and he doesn’t always read the game particularly well. He lacks the ability to stamp his authority on games and consequently fails to control them effectively. What was missing from Arsenal’s title challenge last season was results against league rivals, and that will continue until Arsenal have a really physical presence in their midfield.
Flamini was an excellent signing on a free transfer last season, but he, like Arteta, is not at that world class level that Arsenal need to really push on and progress. While he is a more natural defensive player than Arteta, he too has mobility issues and he lacks a powerful physique to really bully opponents. Diaby could be the player that Arsenal are in need of, but he is incredibly injury prone and hasn’t had a proper season in four years.
The other obvious area that Arsenal require improvements is at centre-forward. Olivier Giroud is a good player and had a fine season, but he is not an elite striker that can regularly make the difference in tight games with only one or two chances. He holds the ball up excellently and links up brilliantly with Ramsey, but his inability to run in behind defences really hinders both him and Arsenal. Pace on the wings, which was missing with Walcott’s injury for much of last season could solve this, but one still feels that a lack of penetration through the middle can make Arsenal a little predictable.
Yaya Sanogo is not the answer either. He may be becoming a fan’s favourite due to his twitter exploits, but he is not yet ready to be the lead striker at a club with the size and ambition of Arsenal. He could probably use a season or two on loan where there is less media attention on him and he can develop more naturally as a player.
Centre-forward and defensive midfield are the most obvious areas Arsenal are lacking in, and strengthening well there would, whilst they are without doubt in with a chance of winning the league, massively strengthen their credentials. Moving on from there, the next position Wenger might want to look at would probably be central defense.
Koscielny and Mertesacker have formed one of the best centre-back partnerships in the league, and Chambers has come in at the start of the season and looked really impressive. There are a couple of reasons, however, why Arsenal could do with an extra man here. Firstly, with Chambers being moved to centre-back, Arsenal only have one right-back with any Premier League experience in their squad in Debuchy. Any lengthy injury to him would mean Chambers moving over, which would leave Arsenal with just Koscielny and Mertesacker.
It’s unlikely that they could buy somebody that would improve on either of these two, but signing a good young prospect would be a smart move, especially with Koscielny and Mertesacker turning 29 and 30 respectively next month. Somebody like Nastasic, who is reportedly available, would provide extra cover in the short term as well as a potential starter in the future.
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