The transfer window is always an exciting time. Whether your team is pushing for a title, promotion, or a European spot, or they are simply trying to avoid the drop, bringing fresh blood into your team can only be a good thing. Whilst I am not a particular fan of the way it is set up, there is no doubt that money will be getting spent over the next month.
The top four will all be looking to add to their squad: Chelsea to maintain their fine form at the top of the table, and Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all trying to catch up. You would think that Arsenal have the most to gain as they are currently the furthest away from the leaders, so I am looking at what they can do to rebuild their challenge in what could be manager Arsene Wenger’s final year.
When you look at the team as a whole you have to say it is one of the strongest squads in the Premier League. There is strong cover in pretty much every position so there would not need to be much in the way of additions. In goal there is the ever-reliable Petr Cech, whose vital saves have already given Arsenal more points than they would have had without him, and with cover in the form of David Ospina, Cech has an able deputy.
When you look at the back four however, this is where I think there is the largest problem. If either Laurent Koscielny or Shkodran Mustafi are injured then the options run a little thin. Yes there is cover with Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista both ready to step in but Mertesacker’s poor reading of the game and lack of pace has been exposed more and more lately. Gabriel is another story entirely, and not in a good way. His poor control of both the ball and his temper have cost him and the team on more than one occasion. He is often caught out of position and is prone to rash challenges that do not need to be made. In short, he is a liability. Better cover needs to be brought in as soon as possible of Arsenal are to kick on and get out of the cursed fourth place. People may point to Calum Chambers and Rob Holding as further back up but they are both young and unproven, so would not be reliable cover.
When you look at Arsenal’s midfield however things look altogether rosier. With Theo Walcott finally accepting he is not a natural striker the options across the middle are awesome. Walcott himself is joined by the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and so on. The projected return of Santi Cazorla in late February would provide a massive boost in the late season as well, especially given the Gunners’ record in March in recent seasons.
Up front the options have seemed a little limited with Alexis Sanchez playing as a lone striker more often than not this season. Olivier Giroud marked his start against West Bromwich Albion with a goal to remind the fans and Wenger that he is a player you have to consider as well. Lucas Perez is also waiting in the wings to chip in, as well as the ever-improving Alex Iwobi. Danny Welbeck has just started training as well so you could say that the Gunners have plenty of options. I personally would like to see them sign a world-class striker in the window and let Welbeck go. He is enthusiastic and will put in a shift but after two seasons and long injuries and not a lot of goals, I think he might be better looking elsewhere for his football. One question you could ask is which top level strikers are currently available and the answer is not many. I would like to see Wenger make a push to bring in someone though to really kick the team on.
It would only take a few tweaks but, if Wenger can get the players in that Arsenal need, then a realistic and determined push for the Premier League title could be on the cards.