Arsenal winter window manifesto to aid Premier League title race
Matt Haynes | December 3, 2015
Arsenal are 3/1 with Coral to win the Premier League and there is no doubt that they have the quality to do so, though, arguably they need to address a few issues first.
The Gunners have winnable Premier League matches against Sunderland and then Aston Villa in their next two outings, which should put them in a good position to get the better of Manchester City and Southampton over the Christmas period.
This could then mean that January represents the optimum opportunity for the club to think about what they need to do to mount a challenge for the title and, with this in mind, Coral take a look at what their winter window manifesto could look like and what Arsene Wenger needs to do for the rest of the campaign.
Keep best players fit
Mesut Ozil has been a revelation this term undoubtedly being their best player, contributing 11 assists; the highest in the Premier League.
At the minute, he is central to everything that the Gunners do and makes them tick. Keeping him fit will require careful management, especially considering the club’s injury list this season, which has led to speculation that players are undertaking heavier training sessions than what is needed for that individual.
The same applies to Alexis Sanchez, who has been hit and miss this term, however he has played non-stop for over two years. On his day, as he showed in the 3-0 win over Manchester United when the Chilean bagged a brace, he is unstoppable, though quite clearly Arsenal need quality strength in depth.
Add to the attack
Wenger has said that if the right player becomes available in January, then he will sanction transfers. While there was a widespread call for a defensive midfielder and another striker in the summer, the club only signed Petr Cech, so the likelihood of these hopes being met in January are slim.
Olivier Giroud returned from injury to prove effective once more, though whether he is the answer to Arsenal’s frontline long-term remains to be seen, while Theo Walcott remains injured.
While superstar signings very rarely occur in January, it can happen as we saw when Liverpool signed Luis Suarez and then Philippe Coutinho, both of whom were already talented and have gone on to show world class potential.
An option may be to bring in an experienced supplementary striker, who has an eye for goal and can be vital to the Gunners’ run-in. However, 22-year-old Real Madrid talent Jese Rodriguez has been linked to the club in recent weeks and, if he becomes available, he would represent somewhat of a coup.
The Gunners 10-man injury list, means they are practically running on empty, especially in central midfield. Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta are all crocked and it was the former duo who made up Arsenal’s crucial pivot in the second half of last season.
Reports have surfaced again linking the club to Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and, while there is no doubt that he would make a significant difference, there is the question as to whether Wenger thinks he fits into the club’s footballing philosophy.
Even if they do sign him, one midfielder isn’t enough, especially at the rate the club are losing players to injury this season.
In the summer, there were rumours that Arsenal were watching Barcelona’s talented youngster Sergi Samper who has drawn comparisons to Sergi Busquets, and this is one player who, despite his age (20), fans would welcome with open arms.
Plan for the summer
While January is the time to fine-tune the squad for the rest of the season, it also represents an occasion to take a slightly longer term view and anticipate which potential targets over the coming months might be open to a move in the summer, depending how the rest of the season with their current clubs go.
It is a great time to strategise a number of contingencies, taking into account a number of scenarios and plan when to make an approach. Timing, as they say, is everything.
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