by Nia Griffiths

Speaking recently about our current squad and what we need to do in order to improve next season, Arsenal legend, Martin Keown, has said that he does think we need a new striker but he doesn’t believe a defensive midfielder is a necessity.

The former defender spoke in his recent Daily Mail feature about Arsenal’s need for a new striker. Although he rates Oliver Giroud and believes he’ll do well for us next season, he reckons we need a big, marquee signing to deal a psychological blow to our rivals.

“I think Arsenal’s priority will be to sign a top striker, as a marquee signing can feel like you’ve landed a psychological blow against your opposition,” he said. “It makes teams sit up and take notice.”

He continued, “He wasn’t a striker, but think back to when Arsenal signed Sol Campbell. We already had an array of centre backs at the time, but his arrival really raised the bar.”

Campbell signed for Arsenal in 2001 from Tottenham Hotspur on a free and the transfer still remains one of the most controversial in the history of the Premier League.

Keown went on, “Mourinho may be sitting uneasy at the moment as Chelsea’s title rivals do a lot of business. His side may still be favourites, but they will have to play better and work harder than they did last year.

“Only Wenger knows whether Arsenal will sign a new striker or not, and he may well be working towards something at this moment. But think about two seasons ago when Arsenal lost the first game of the season against Aston Villa at home. Wenger went out and bought Mesut Ozil afterwards, and making that marquee signing saw Arsenal take off.”

He added, “I still feel Olivier Giroud will play a major part this season. He scored plenty of goals last season, but they will probably be looking for someone with different qualities at the moment. Someone with more pace and power.”

On the subject of Francis Coquelin and our potential need for another defensive midfielder, Keown seemed pretty relaxed, saying that we have enough midfielders to step in if needs be.

“Arsenal have so many gifted midfielders, and if Coquelin isn’t available Arsene Wenger will want to plug the gap with a player who will control the game, rather than a physical presence,” Keown said. “At the moment he feels that Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini can fill in for Coquelin when he’s unavailable, and I could also see him going with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey in deeper central role in that situation. That would suit Wenger’s philosophy.”

He elaborated, “Coquelin was a huge bonus last season – one of the first names on the teamsheet – and there will be lots riding on Arteta when he is asked to fill in. He’s a good player to have around, as he has a good attitude and is well respected. But he may find it difficult to stay fit if he’s not playing regularly.”

I doubt many Arsenal fans will be able to agree with Keown on this one as many would prefer we signed a defensive midfielder before the season starts. However, this is looking increasingly unlikely.