Mocking Arsenal’s summer transfer business has become an annual tradition for rival fans over the course of the past five to ten years. The Gunners have famously dallied on big deals and lost numerous big names to rivals, and even when they have broken transfer records to secure marquee additions the ‘panic buy’ criticism has been hurled towards the red half of North London.
The window just gone was a prime example of just why Arsenal receive such feedback. From mounting a late outside title challenge and retaining the FA Cup last season, the Emirates Stadium outfit looked to be in prime position to make a few key additions and really challenge for the biggest prize in 2015/16. And it started fairly well with the signature of Petr Cech from Chelsea addressing the long-standing need for a commanding goalkeeper… alas that was where it all stopped.
Famously (or infamously, depending on your club allegiance) Arsenal went on to finish the window as the only side in any of Europe’s five biggest leagues to fail to sign an outfield player. Oh dear. Arsene Wenger is understood to have tried late on, but players weren’t available, and even though he has a squad with quality in every department, there are a few glaring issues facing the Gunners.
January isn’t far away, so here are SIX possible additions to quell the need for some outfield reinforcements…
A recent reported target, Arsenal are believed to have paid close attention to the Belgian over the summer as they looked for strike additions. It’s pretty obvious that the Gunners need a striker above any other signing – Olivier Gorud is, arguably, Wenger’s only genuine centre-forward – making the 22-year-old all the more appealing ahead of January.
Seven Ligue 1 goals in his debut Marseille season last term is not the sort of form to suggest that Batshuayi will thrive in English football, but he already has three to his name in five outings so far in 2015/16 and also found the net for Belgium in EURO 2016 qualification action in March – no mean feat given the competition for places in the Red Devils’ ranks.
A real surprise package. The joint top scorer in the Premier League and the player with the most take-ons (22) to his name in the division, Leicester’s Algeria international has been staggeringly good over the course of the first five games of the season. Reports already claim that Arsenal are looking at the 24-year-old, who, although he plays in a position the Gunners have plenty of options in, would offer pace, skill and an unpredictable edge to Wenger’s side.
The subject of a mooted late summer offer, a deal for Zaza failed to come to fruition, but reports have since claimed that he’s on the club’s January agenda. The striker, who shone with Italian minnows Sassuolo, has only been with Juventus since the start of the summer, but with competition for a starting berth high in Turin he’s supposedly already available for the right price. Standing at 6ft. 1” the Italy international offers a similar presence to that of Giroud, but he’s a little more mobile than the Frenchman and at 24 he has time to develop.
Despite his supreme talents, Isco has found it difficult to nail down a regular slot at Real Madrid in his two and a bit seasons in the white shirt. In truth the Spaniard would be a regular for about 99% of football clubs on the planet, with his technique, vision and composure standout attributes. It’s already being suggested that Arsenal are looking at the 23-year-old ahead of January, and it’s fair to say he could be a top-class addition. Able to play all across the attacking midfield three or in a deeper central midfield role, Isco is perfectly suited to a Wenger team and would be the marquee name fans have been calling for.
Although he only signed a new contract with Inter Milan over the summer, Icardi is already a mooted Arsenal January target. The Argentine has been compared to Luis Suarez in the past, and although not quite at the Uruguayan’s level yet, he does have a similar playing style which is characterised by bustling running, a feisty nature and an eye for goal.
The contract situation with Inter could be an issue, but should the Italians be struggling domestically once again – Champions League football for the black and blues is becoming a distant memory – then there could be an opportunity to lure him from Milan.
Those calling for a genuine holding midfielder at Arsenal may by now have realised that they’re effectively bashing their heads against a brick wall. Wenger doesn’t want a mere destroyer, he is only ever after players who can contribute technically first and physically second… which makes Xhaka an interesting name to talk about.
There haven’t been any concrete links with the Switzerland international as of yet, but he does seem well suited to the Gunners’ style. Borussia Monchengladbach own the player and their woeful start – they’re bottom of the table – to the Bundesliga season could open the door for a January deal.