Arsenal entered the summer transfer window with a number of positional needs. They had an abundance of defenders, but none were reliable enough to begin with. The central midfield was a major problem, especially with Dani Ceballos returning to Real Madrid after his loan expired. The wide positions looked weak, while sales could open up the needs of defender, central striker and reserve goalkeeper.
Ultimately, they addressed most of these positions.
As Edu Gaspar described to club website , he was satisfied with the club’s window work.
“I think we have improved the quality and physicality of the team,” he said. “Thomas, who we had in our plan for the future, when Mikel and I sat and talked, I think you get all the players that we really focus on.
“If you see Willian, he brings us a very special experience and physicality in terms of speed. If you see Gabriel, he gives us a lot of physicality and presence. Dani, quality. Thomas, physically, quality and mentally he is very strong. “
But that does not mean that all needs have been met. In fact, there are still many areas of the squad that require investments.
While Arsenal they won’t be spending the most in January, they may want to add one or two players to key positions if they feel they are close to finishing in the top four.
This is precisely what has happened in recent years, hiring Pablo Mari and Cedric on six-month loans last season and Denis Suarez on loan on the previous year.
So what positions should Arsenal seek to strengthen in January?
A creative midfielder
As the panic in the last days of the summer window illustrates, the greatest need is creativity. Mesut Ozil has been excluded from the squad and, apparently, will not play again under the command of Mikel Arteta, while the options of the central midfield are limited in the use of the ball.
Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and new signing Partey are in control, dictating players who help provide structure and balance. They are unlikely to unlock deep blocks with incisive passes, crosses or slalom dribbles.
Arsenal were interested in Houssem Aouar, a more creative central midfielder. They could make another move for the Lyon star, although a summer transfer was more likely.
If Arteta feels that his team is losing penetration in the midfield, he may want to sign a temporary option on the job for a six-month loan.
Another position of potential need is the left-back. Sead Kolasinac was close to being eliminated in the summer, although a deal with Bayer Leverkusen fell through the window and does not fit in with Arteta’s possession-based approach.
Kolasinac is disastrous with the ball, he is not especially more defensively reliable and was totally defeated by Kieran Tierney, who is the starter, but he may be at risk of injury after suffering difficulties in his first season at the club.
In addition, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka playing the left-back role, Kolasinac’s chances seem minimal, especially after Mari, who can play on the left side of the three defenders, returns to form.
Arsenal can try to profit from the Bosnian. So, if you want to dismiss it, you may need to replace it with another more natural left-back.
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The first three
Finally, Arsenal may try to increase its attack options if certain sales are made. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed a new contract earlier this year, Alexandre Lacazette entered the last two years of his contract.
Lacazette entered and left the XI title under Arteta and, at 29, can be transferred to finance movements in other positions. This would leave an open hole in the center forward or left flank if Aubameyang moved to a central position to fill the Frenchman’s place.
Gabriel Martinelli would have already recovered from injury, while Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson offer depth in attack positions behind Nicolas Pepe and Willian, but it is hardly the most convincing group. A wound in Aubameyang would be catastrophic.
Of course, selling Lacazette would be a major transfer and is more likely to be sanctioned in the summer, when finding a suitable replacement is more plausible. But with time against the club due to their contractual situation, Arsenal may try to sell the Lacazette sooner or later to preserve as much value as possible.