Arsenal Transfer Speculation: Gunners' Priorities After Wigan Debacle
Less than 48 hours ago, Arsenal suffered a disturbing 2-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic. The manner of the performance showed that Arsenal still need work in key areas before they are ready to once again lift trophies.
The four positions that require attention are supporting striker, wide midfielder, central playmaker and defensive midfield. Smart additions in each of these areas can turn this Arsenal squad into legitimate title contenders.
Here is an assessment of what exactly Arsenal need at these positions and the players who could fit best.
Arsenal need another forward who can share more of the goalscoring load with Robin van Persie. In Arsene Wenger's system, this player does not need to be a classic central striker.
Van Persie's ability to play through the middle allows Arsenal to opt for more of a traditional No.10 in this position.
Best Fit: Stephane Sessegnon, Sunderland
The Gunners were linked with Sessegnon back in February. The Benin international is an ideal fit for Arsenal's style of play. He is pacey, technically refined, intelligent and versatile.
Wenger prefers natural midfield players in wide areas, rather than wingers. The current formation has seen forwards such as Gervinho and Theo Walcott thrust into these roles, with varying degrees of success.
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Finding more creative and natural ball players for the wide berths can return Arsenal's style of play back to its quick-paced and intricate best.
Wenger is said to be an admirer of Sigurdsson, and the Icelandic schemer possesses skillful touch and subtle movement. He can provide goals from wide areas and would contribute to the general flow and quality of Arsenal's passing play.
Hoilett is out of contract this summer, and Arsenal have been mentioned as a possible destination. The Canadian speedster is one of the most underrated talents in the EPL. He has the pace, trickery and shooting ability to provide goals and assists from central and wide areas.
Understandably, Arsenal have struggled to fill the considerable void left by the departure of Cesc Fabregas. Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey have both performed well at different times this season, but the Gunners need more invention and flair from the position.
Best Fit: Moussa Dembele, Fulham
Mercurial Belgian Dembele would be an excellent addition to the Gunners' ranks. He is a cultured and cerebral midfielder who combines his creative instincts with great power and technique. Dembele could be available for £15 million.
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With the Arsenal team full of players whose natural temperaments encourage them to attack, they must have a disciplined ball-winning midfielder to protect the back four and break up counterattacks.
This position demands a player who will happily stay on the halfway line, or just behind it, while the rest of the midfield and the overlapping full-backs supplement the forward line. This player must be positionally sound and a willing and capable tackler.
Best Fit: Steven N'Zonzi, Blackburn Rovers
Young Frenchman N'Zonzi has the physical skills to be the defensive presence Arsenal's midfield needs. The Gunners have been linked with a move for the relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers star.
His robust style and efficiency on the ball would make a key contribution to Arsenal's tactical structure.
All of the players on this list are Premier League ready and would easily fit into Arsenal's way of playing. The current squad is close to showing that it is good enough to maintain the club's position in the top four.
However, the Wigan defeat undermined the facade created by Arsenal's recovery from early season turmoil. The results on the whole have been good, but they have created the mistaken perception that the team are ready to be major contenders next season.
Before the Gunners can challenge for the Premier League title, some crucial additions are needed.
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