Arséne Wenger’s refusal to sign a back-up defensive midfielder in the summer is now starting to haunt Arsenal. The Gunners’ first-choice defensive shield Francis Coquelin limped out of the weekend’s clash against West Bromwich Albion and is now set to be out for at least two months. The Frenchman’s replacement Mikel Arteta, who was brought in also sustained a calf injury of his own and was on hand to contribute to thee Gunners’ defeat after putting the ball into Petr Cech’s net.
Mathieu Flamini is another DM who is injury-prone, loves bagging the cards and full of inconsistencies. Hence, it is highly likely Wenger will start a scour for top notch defensive midfielders in the New Year, in order to keep alive Arsenal’s dream of winning the Premier League title this season.
We have now assembled a list of five players who Arsenal can bring in to fill the void left open by Coquelin;
1. Cheick Tioté:
The Newcastle midfield, 29, is one of the best DM in the Premier League and will be an ideal fit for Wenger’s team. Tioté has always been a thorn in the flesh of the Gunners whenever he faces them and the Ivorian’s brilliance will be brilliant for Arsenal.
There are claims Arsenal tabled a bid for Tioté in the summer, but the player opted to remain at St James’ Park under Steve Mc Claren. However, an offer of around £20m will allegedly lure the tough-tackling midfielder to the Emirates.
2. William Carvalho:
Carvalho has been linked to Arsenal in recent summers, and now could be the ideal time for the north London club to sign the Sporting Lisbon ace. In October, the Daily Star claimed the Gunners are willing to cough up £33m in order to lure him to the Emirates stadium and, the box-to-box midfielder will suitably be a good back-up option for or a better competitor with Francis Coquelin. Now that Coquelin has been ruled out for two months, what next? Wenger to loosen the purse strings in January?
3. Luiz Gustavo:
Also one of Arsenal’s long-term target, Gustavo has been a mainstay in Wolfsburg’s midfield since joining the Bundesliga side from Bayern Munich in 2013. The Arsenal style of play would certainly fit in with the methods of the all-action midfielder, hence, forking out around £20m-£25m could help the Gunners sign the 28-year old Brazilian.
4. Grzegorz Krychowiak:
Krychowiak is one of the midfielders that are on the radar of Wenger at Arsenal. Over the summer while the Frenchman was scouring Europe for an established defensive midfielder, Wenger reportedly approached Sevilla for Krychowiak, but the Polish combative midfield opted to remain with Unai Emery’s side.
However, Arsenal should revive their interest in the former Bordeaux ace, who is one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe, and having joined Sevilla in the summer of 2014, the 25-year old has made significant progress, helping the La Liga giants to a Europa League triumph last season.
5. Lars Bender:
During the summer, Bender’s name also appeared on Wenger’s transfer wish list before the French tactician opted to stick with Coquelin and not sign a single outfield player.
Now, it is expected that Coquelin’s “serious injury” will prompt Wenger to go all out to bring in an established midfielder and, Bender could well be the one.