Arsene Wenger’s recent revelations that he won’t be signing anyone in January may have come as a little bit of shock to some Arsenal fans. The goalkeeping situation has been cause for concern for quite some time and many think cover is needed in defence despite the summer arrivals of Laurent Koscienly and Sebastien Scquillaci. Once he’s made his mind up, it’s unlikely the Arsenal manager would go back on it, but has the great man got it wrong this time?
There is definitely an argument to sign a goalkeeper. Lukasz Fabianski has been inconsistent at best and does not seem to have the required ability to cope with being Arsenal’s number one. A big club who want to win trophies need a big personality in the sticks who can keep his composure in big games, and Fabianski isn’t it. Nor for that matter is Manuel Almunia. Even if it was just short-term, bringing in someone like Mark Schwarzer would finally give Arsenal some much needed assurance.
And what about central defence? Thomas Vermaelen has been a bigger miss than many anticipated. Whilst the likes of Scquillaci and Koscienly have by no means disgraced themselves, they have come under pressure following the derby-day defeat to Tottenham and other than those two, resources are thin on the ground. Without the Belgian, Arsenal also miss a defender who could quite easily score 10 or more a season.
What would be frustrating for Gunners fans is to once again see their title bid tail off because of the lack of either strength in depth in their squad, or not having the mental strength to see a campaign through. This is what the last few trophy-less seasons have been largely put down to. Wenger’s men have the ability going forward to tear apart any team in the league, but what good is that when you are never sure if your goalkeeper will catch the next cross? Or your defender isn’t quite up to it against the best the Premier League has to offer?
If Wenger decides to fill these gaps in January, Arsenal would promote themselves from outsiders to co-favourites for the title, along with Chelsea and Manchester United. Schwarzer would give him stability, where someone like Brett Hangeland for example could sure up the defence, and offer another option from set-pieces. When you’re up against it in tough away games, small details like this are vital and could prove the difference between one point and three.
If he does have everyone fit for the remainder of the season, there is nothing to say Wenger’s men can’t win the league, they are good enough after all. But no club goes the season without suffering from an injury crisis of some sort and the worry for Arsenal is that without reinforcements their season will once again amount to nothing and yet more questions of what could have been. Time to get the cheque book out Mr. Wenger.