Oh dear, oh dear. Despite Arsene Wenger picking up a three-year contract extension in the summer and overseeing the most lucrative transfer window in the club’s history, it has not been a good start to the season for Arsenal.
In fact, following a home defeat to Manchester United at the weekend that pushed the Gunners all the way down to eigth place, this is actually the Gunners’ worst opening to a domestic campaign in 32 years. Meanwhile, they’re throwing away 3-0 leads to Anderlecht in the Champions League.
Perhaps some bold moves in the January window can get the north Londoners back on track, or at least preserve their Champions League status by the end of the season.
Just in case Wenger is short on a few ideas, here’s FIVE super-signings with exceptionally large transfer fees that could save Arsenal’s stuttering campaign.
The counter-attacking-inspired defeat to Manchester United demonstrated Arsenal’s desperate need for an out-and-out holding midfielder and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin fits the bill perfectly.
Not only is the Frenchman well-proven as a Premier League enforcer, currently seventh in the division’s tackling charts:
But he’s also highly-effective in possession, with the most passes and second-best pass completion rate of any player on Southampton’s roster:
The 25 year-old pops up with the occasional stunner too – such as this strike against Newcastle:
And there’s been a clear progression to Schneiderlin’s game since Southampton’s top flight ascension in summer 2012, as shown below:
A sizeable fee could make them think otherwise in January however and boss Ronald Koeman has admitted the South Coast outfit will struggle to keep Schneiderlin’s suitors at bay, recently telling reporters; “Keeping Morgan here will not be easy. We will have to see what happens.”
Estimated transfer fee:£30million upwards
Failing that, the Gunners should attempt a swoop for reported summer target Javi Martinez.
The Spain international is unquestionably amongst the world’s best in his position and performed a vital role for the Bayern Munich side that won the Bundesliga and Champions League titles in 2013. Here’s a look at his stats that year compared to Europe’s other top defensive midfielders:
He’s never quite taken Pep Guardiola’s fancy however, making nine less appearances than the year previous in his first campaign under the former Barcelona boss and often fielded in his less favoured centre-back role.
Furthermore, upon an injury that will see the 26 year-old out until the New Year, Guardiola wasted no time in adding Mehdi Benatia and Xabi Alonso to his squad during the summer for a combined €34million, suggesting the Bavarians are already prepared for life without him.
Measuring in at a whopping 6 foot 3 and well-acquainted with technically-demanding, possession-based football, Martinez would be perfect for the Gunners. Here’s a clip of the former Athletic Bilbao star in action:
His injury problems may put off Arsene Wenger however and should Arsenal show an interest in Martinez, it will undoubtedly be reciprocated throughout the continent.
Estimated transfer fee:£35million-£40million
Clearly, Arsenal have started the season a centre-back short and speculation since the summer suggests a January a mega-deal for Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels:
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 22, 2014
A World Cup winner and Champions League finalist, the German international is considered to be one of the top centre-halves in Europe, famed for his front-footed, progressive style that often draws comparisons with the legendary Franz Beckenbauer. Here’s a clip of the 25 year-old in action:
And a look at his stats over the last few seasons:
The 6 foot 4 defender accepted the Black-Yellows’ captaincy in the summer as a show of loyalty, but there’s been some rather interesting developments since then.
Firstly, Dortmund have plummeted to 16th in the Bundesliga table, just one point above the relegation zone, and secondly, the Westfalen outfit have named their price for Hummels – a whopping £47million:
— Express Football (@ExpressFootball) November 20, 2014
Whether Wenger would pay that much for an injury-prone – albeit world-class – defender remains to be seen, but Per Mertesacker, who partnered Hummels at Brazil 2014, is reportedly attempting to convince the two-time Bundesliga winner into an Emirates switch.
Estimated transfer fee:£40million-£50million
Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck certainly aren’t the most inspiring of strike-forces and the Gunners are still lacking that 20 goals-per-season man.
Meanwhile, there’s been plenty of speculation about Jackson Martinez’ future over the last few months with some rumours suggesting an Arsenal move could be on the cards:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 18, 2014
The Colombian international arrived late to the European game but since joining FC Porto from Mexican side Chiapas in summer 2012, he’s amassed an incredible 71 goals in 107 appearances -including twelve in 16 this season. Here’s a look at Martinez in action:
Strong, quick and earning the moniker ‘cha cha cha’ for his graceful movement inside the box, the 28 year-old has long-been mooted as a striker that would excel in the Premier League.
The Express claim he’s valued at around £30million by the Primeira Liga side however and Arsenal will face competition from Liverpool and Juventus for his signature, according to recent reports:
Juventus Aim To Scupper Liverpool’s Jackson Martinez Desire http://t.co/H8hQMO4e24
— Inside Futbol (@insidefutbol) November 19, 2014
Estimated transfer fee:£25million-£35million
Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Aguero have scored more league goals than Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette this season and he’s got an impressive four assists to go with it:
Indeed, the 23 year-old may not be a European superstar just yet but such status could soon be in the offing if his prolific form continues.
The France international can play as an out-and-out striker or on either flank and in addition to goals boasts electric pace. Here’s a look at Lacazette in action:
The Ligue 1 prodigy was strongly linked to Arsenal during the summer but no move materialised:
— Anfield Bond (@AnfieldBond) July 4, 2014
And he eventually penned new terms with Lyon in September.
That’s certainly protected Lacazette’s value but he should still be within Arsenal’s financial grasp – and if they don’t land a deal for the in-form Frenchman soon, another top club undoubtedly will.
Estimated transfer fee:£20million-£25million