After a successful summer which included the £30 million capture of Alexis Sanchez, Wenger kept his faith in the defensive midfield duo of Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta by choosing not to purchase any potential replacements in the summer window. The departure of defenders such as Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson left the Arsenal manager short of defensive options despite the acquisitions of Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy.
Arsenal still look weak in terms of squad depth defensively. Injuries to Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy over the past few months has really exposed Arsenal’s lack of cover in the centre of defence, with full-back Nacho Monreal often playing out of position to cover absentees. Wenger has shown his usual faith in younger players by allowing them to break into the first team but it looks as if Arsenal need experience at the back to provide solidarity.
Recent January transfer windows at Arsenal suggest that Wenger will not splash the cash.
In the past three winter windows, Arsene Wenger’s total outlay does not even amount to £10 million. The additions of Thierry Henry in 2012 and Kim Kallstrom last year were loan signings, with Nacho Monreal the only player to arrive for a sizeable fee of around £8.5 million across the three years of winter business.
Clearly, this suggests that Arsene Wenger will not be looking to spend big money on replacements. This may frustrate Arsenal fans as there are clear signs of weakness in their squad.
However, Wenger may still look to bring in replacements on the cheap. Rumours that Winston Reid could be available for as little as £7 million would certainly fit the bill for and provide Arsenal with the cover in central defence that they so desperately need. Although Arsenal fans will be hoping that a major signing is made in this January transfer window, the recent evidence suggests that this will not happen.
Instead, the summer will probably be the time when Wenger chooses to spend big on new signings. The situation at Arsenal could be a lot worse, they are still in the Champions League and look comfortable enough to break into the top four sooner rather than later.
However, many Arsenal fans have grown tired of the same results each season and are demanding improvement. Realistically, if Wenger does improve the strength of the Arsenal squad, there is no reason as to why they can’t be challenging for the Premier League title next season.
Arsene Wenger has already given glimpses of Arsenal’s spending power through the signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in previous windows. If he chooses to really compete with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United’s spending power then Arsenal fans should expect their team to be competing for the title next season.
However, expecting Wenger to spend big in January could be wishful thinking.