Five January signings to solve Arsenal’s injury crisis

Just when Arsenal’s Premier League title bid appeared to be gaining a head of steam, it’s veered off the tracks by a typically Arsenal injury crisis.

Indeed, the Gunners had eight players out injured for their 3-0 win over Dynamo Zagreb in the Champions League yesterday evening, namely Aaron Ramsey, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin.

Although some will return to action potentially as soon as next weekend, when the north London outfit face Norwich City in the Premier League, others, such as Coquelin, could be sidelined until February.

Arsene Wenger has never been particularly fond if the January transfer window, but it could well come to his rescue this time around should he sign the right players to fill the void of the aforementioned names.

With that in mind, here are Football FanCast’s FIVE suggested signings for coming transfer window to solve Arsenal’s seemingly never-ending injury crisis…

GRZEGORZ KRYCHOWIAK


With Francis Coquelin sidelined for the next three months, signing a defensively-minded midfielder must be Arsenal’s priority during the January transfer window.

In that regard, it’s hard to look past summer target Grzegorz Krychowiak, who was linked with an Emirates move after winning the Europa League title and claiming a spot in La Liga’s Team of the Season during his debut campaign at Sevilla.

Measuring in at 6 foot 1 and famed for the aggression in which he asserts his physicality, the 25-year-old would certainly address the imbalance in the Gunners’ engine room.

The Poland international’s impressive Champions League displays this season, averaging the most interceptions per match, a whopping 6.5, of any player involved in the tournament alongside 1.8 tackles and 4.3 successful aerial duels, suggest he’s talented enough to perform consistently at Arsenal’s level.

And although Krychowiak recently signed a contract extension at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the £32million release clause it included should be well within Arsenal’s financial reach.

MICHY BATSHUAYI


The recent injury to Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud’s failure to find the net against Tottenham in his absence has really highlighted the Gunners’ limited depth up top. Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi is by no means the finished article, but represents a potential midseason solution nonetheless.

Indeed, the 22-year-old is currently second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts with nine goals (and four assists) in 14 appearances, further enhancing the reputation gained from his potent spell with former employers Standard Liege, for whom he netted 39 times in 97 league outings.

Boasting pace, power and leap in almost equal measure, the Belgium international seems a good fit for Premier League football and particularly Arsenal, who need a striker with a considerable physical presence.

Batshuayi’s form has already caught the eye of several Premier League clubs but Marseille president Vincente Labrune has publicly valued the strike starlet at a rather steep £35million.

PATO


A significantly cheaper and more available alternative to Michy Batshuayi, London Evening Standard claim Alexandre Pato has already been ‘offered’ to Arsenal in an £11million deal.

It may seem illogical to suggest Arsenal could arrest their injury crisis by signing a player whose career in European football ended prematurely due to a string of injury problems at AC Milan. But the 26-year-old has enjoyed three straight seasons of full fitness and is back performing near the level that previously saw him heralded as one of the most exciting strike prospects in the world.

Indeed, since returning to the Brazilian top flight in January 2013, the 5 foot 11 striker has claimed 55 goals in 157 appearances – including a career-best haul of 26 during Sao Paulo’s 2015 campaign. It’s perhaps a little shy of his 51 goals in 117 Serie A outings for Milan, but Pato’s experience at the top end of the European game and internationally, with 27 caps for Brazil under his belt, could prove a useful asset to the Gunners’ title bid.

At £11million, he seems like a punt worth taking. But along with Arsenal, Pato’s services have been offered to Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

RIYHAD MAHREZ


Another problem area that’s emerged in recent weeks, rather surprisingly, is the right side of midfield, with youngster Joel Campbell failing to fill the void of Aaron Ramsey and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain.

One candidate who could fair somewhat better than the Costa Rican is Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez. His performances may not be receiving the same treatment as Jamie Vardy’s but they’ve been equally crucial to the Foxes’ shock rise to the top of the Premier League table, with seven goals and six assists in twelve outings.

The 24-year-old has also averaged the most successful dribbles per match, 3.7, of any player in the division, and that ability to caress the ball in close quarters suggests he’d suit the Gunners’ technical style of play.

Equally comfortable in any position across the attacking midfield berth and blessed with the confident swagger of youth, Mahrez would be an exciting addition to the Emirates squad.

But the fact that the winger has earned his stripes in the Premier League will undoubtedly have a significant effect on his price-tag.

JOEL MATIP


A signing that would enhance Arsenal’s depth at centre-half and in defensive midfield, who coincidentally could be available on the cheap in January, Schalke’s Joel Matip represents an astute addition to Arsenal’s squad.

Indeed, the 24-year-old’s rather unusual skills set of speed, height and quality on the ball has seen him regularly switch between both roles throughout his Miners career, as well as filling in at full-back on occasion.

The Cameron international has become a permanence at the heart of the Miners’ defence this season and is enjoying arguably his best form to date, averaging 1.5 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, 5.5 clearances and 3.8 successful aerial duels per match whilst claiming two goals and one assist in 13 Bundesliga outings.

Matip’s athleticism and versatility would be of benefit to most of Europe’s top teams and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, a few will almost certainly be looking to prize him away on the cheap in January. Arsenal would be wise to get there first.