At the start of every new Premier League season, Arsenal fans enter the campaign full of expectation and hope that this will be the year that Arsene Wenger’s men end their wait for another domestic title.
The 2015-16 campaign has started in contrasting fashion, with a 3-0 win over Manchester United last time out restoring some faith after inconsistent results in the first seven games of the season.
One frustration for the Gunners faithful over the years has been Wenger’s perceived unwillingness to spend money in the transfer market. This was continued through the most recent window, with Arsenal the only team in Europe’s top five divisions not to buy an outfield player, as Petr Cech was the only new face to arrive in North London.
Despite the Emirates Stadium faithful repeatedly imploring their manager to splurge on a world-class centre forward, another area of concern has been in the centre of midfield.
Since the days of Patrick Vieira, Arsenal have been accused of lacking physicality and backbone in the engine room, with technical ball players rather than enforcers preferred by the long-serving manager. This issue has been solved to some extent by the emergence of Francis Coquelin, who has taken his opportunity to play with both hands and is now an ever-present in the starting XI when fit. The Frenchman brings that aggression, combativeness and ability to win the ball back to the team that had been lacking in previous years.
Despite this, the call still remains for reinforcements in the boiler room to be made, especially given that Aaron Ramsey is now being used on the right, Jack Wilshere is perennially injured and the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are not getting any younger.
One dynamic and highly rated young central midfielder that the Gunners have been linked with consistently for some time now is Sporting Lisbon and Portugal star William Carvalho.
The deep-lying playmaker continues to grow in stature in his homeland and it appears like only a matter of time before he leave the Primera Liga for one of Europe’s biggest clubs. Carvalho has recently been talking about his future and revealed that he does have an ambition to play in the Premier League. He also named Arsenal as his ‘dream club’.
Given the comments, should the North London side miss out on a player of Carvalho’s undoubted quality to an English or European rival, it will infuriate the fans no end.
The powerful midfielder brings a level of both a physical presence and a delectable range of passing to the table that seem almost perfect for an Arsenal side focussed on possession at the expense of stature.
Should the same frailties emerge in Arsenal’s midfield this season and major silverware elude them once more, the decision not to bring this Portuguese star to North London in the summer will quite rightly be examined by a frustrated Emirates Stadium crowd.