Arsene Wenger has only gone and done it again.
As the start of the summer transfer window began, Arsenal was linked with many of the world’s biggest names as per usual. Benzema, Cavani, Higuain, and when Arsenal announced the signing of Petr Cech from Chelsea on the 29th of June, fans and critics thought this would be the beginning of a spectacular transfer window for the Gunners, perhaps even bigger than the one from the season before where Wenger brought in the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and David Ospina.
And when the transfer window shut, Cech remained the only signing for Wenger in a window that initially brought so much promise to the Arsenal faithful. Of course, many Gooners believe Wenger left them short due to the fact that Arsenal were the only side in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player.
Whilst the Arsenal faithful typed away their agony on social media of not signing any outfield player, let alone a world-class one, Cech has gone on to be one of the best keepers in the league, saving the Gunners multiple points this season already, and pushing Arsenal within just a few points of the top spot.
Wenger might had been reluctant to spend in January due to how well his Arsenal sides tend to do in the second half of the season, but after the events of Arsenal’s latest two games, a 2-1 loss away to West Brom and a 1-1 draw at Norwich, more and more injuries to key players continue to mount, Wenger might not be left with much of a choice.
Arguably, Coquelin is the one injury that Wenger and Arsenal fans did not want to see because of lack of suitable cover in that area. Flamini and Arteta are reasonable squad players who could have played alongside Santi Cazorla (if he hadn’t been injured) until January. Past that, Wenger could turn to youth in Krystian Bielik, who has impressed with the under 21’s this season, but that’s not very Wenger-esque…
It’s not only a defensive midfielder Wenger should look to bring in this summer, as always, Arsenal look like they’re one world class striker away from winning the league. Theo Walcott did a job as the front man for the time he lead the attack, but he missed a lot more than he scored, and Olivier Giroud is too inconsistent for Arsenal to be given the starting role. As we all know, Giroud could score three in four games and then have a barren run of one in five games.
So should Wenger spend big in January? The best option for Wenger would to bring in a defensive midfielder on loan, and go all out for a world-class striker, given one is available. Coquelin’s injury is only a short-term problem for Arsenal, and bringing in a sturdy, hard defensive midfielder on loan for the second half of the season would be a great addition for the club. It will allow Coquelin to recover while not threatening his long-term first team place.
But who do you bring in?
One suitable and realistic option for the defensive midfield position would be Borussia Dortmund’s Sven Bender. The 26-year-old has played less than 300 minutes in the Bundesliga this season, and the defensive midfielder has been a back page favourite with a move to Arsenal for some years now. So why not look to secure the German on a six-month loan with a decent up-front fee to make it worthwhile for Dortmund? Bender might be slower than Coquelin, but what he lacks in pace he makes up for in physicality and tackling.
As for a striker, you probably already know who I am going to say, Karim Benzema. Although the Frenchman has recently been a prominent figure in the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail case, he is still one of the best strikers in world football, and Wenger might be able to lure the former Lyon striker away from Spain with reports that a number of players are annoyed over Rafa Benitez’s style of management.
The January window is one that Arsenal fans rarely see any movement in, but this year, Wenger might have no other choice if he wants to get his hands around a fourth Premier League trophy.