Arsenal did well in the latest transfer window with outgoings but the squad has been left short in a couple of crucial areas, and whilst Edu and co did well to trim the fat off the squad, there was still room was improvement in terms of in-comings.
So, here are three players that Arsenal should have taken a look at to help the club’s short and long term ambitions.
1Players Arsenal should have signed in January – Patrick van Aanholt
Arsenal only have one specialist left-back at the club, and Kieran Tierney is currently nursing a sore calf that has seen him miss Arsenal’s last four fixtures. Cedric is his supposed back-up, yet he’s also the primary back-up at right-back too.
It’s not an ideal situation.
Arsenal do have some options available in the youth team, but the Gunners don’t have the luxury of time to let an inexperienced player bed in. Van Aanholt is out of contract at the end of the season and would have been an inexpensive addition with the necessary skill set required to fit in Arsenal’s game plan; good on the ball, quick and is unafraid of running behind the opposition back line.
Now, I can hear you all shouting the same thing from here. “STEPHEN! BUKAYO SAKA CAN PLAY LEFT BACK!!!!!” I know he can. But that doesn’t mean he should. Right now, he’s Arsenal best attacker, if not being their outright best player. The last thing Arsenal should be doing is playing him 50 yards further away from goal than necessary.
2Players Arsenal should have signed in January – Idrissa Gueye
Arsenal have shown over the last couple of seasons that they are unafraid to dip into the loan transfer market to take someone off another big club’s substitute bench, and the 31 year old defensive midfielder would have been a perfect use of such a tactic.
As reported by L’Équipe, Gueye turned down the chance to go to Newcastle on loan last week, but that new PSG manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has indicated that the Senegalese international is not in his plans.
Do I like the idea of another short-term fix, a la Martin Ødegaard? Not particularly. But I like it better than playing Granit Xhaka every week. I also like it better than playing Thomas Partey as the more defensive minded central midfielder, because the Ghanaian has already shown to be a potent attacking threat from the middle of the park.
If Arsenal had someone who has the defensive mindset to be willing to cover the ground Partey leaves behind him when he strides up the filed with the ball, it’d be ideal. Dani Ceballos isn’t that. Mohammed Elneny isn’t that. Xhaka tries but can’t be that.
Gueye would’ve been a perfect stop-gap measure until the summer.
3Players Arsenal should have signed in January – William Saliba
I know, ok. I know Saliba is an Arsenal player. Relax, delete the comment below calling a mug, and hear me out.
Last Tuesday’s loss at Wolves left plenty of blame to be apportioned to various sources. Daily Cannon’s weekly podcast did a great job of doling out sufficient portions, whilst I myself reviewed the game here on YouTube, and we both were rather scathing in how David Luiz fell foul of some awful officiating.
But, at some point, we have to accept the fact that this is the third time in a year that Luiz has been sent off for bringing a player down inside the box. His game is built upon timing and making last-second reactions inside the penalty area to win the ball.
He used to be very good at it. Now……..not so much.
My issue with the Brazilian is that he has been given chance, after chance, after chance, to get his form back and play in the first team. Meanwhile, a talented prospect like Saliba is shunted off to France for the second year in a row because there’s no room in the squad for him. He’s just been named Player of the Month for Nice.
Player of the month for Saliba at Nice. https://t.co/4Ls4HYEan8
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 6, 2021
Nobody knows if Saliba is good enough for the Premier League, which I’ll concede. However, everyone knows that Luiz isn’t good enough. I’d much rather take a chance on the unknown when the known alternative is a disaster waiting to happen.
It took Arteta far too long to bring Emile Smith Rowe into the first team, and he seems to be repeating that mistake here.
It shouldn’t be Saliba pictured above in a Nice shirt.
It should be David Luiz.