Arsenal, nonetheless, should have a strong enough team to rebound.
The Gunners have added Lukas Podolski, the German striker with the skills to replace van Persie, as well as Oliver Giroud, a 6’4’’ striker from France who should help improve the Gunners’ heading ability that was lacking at times in 2011-2012.
Along with the addition of Santi Cazorla, a creative midfielder from Malaga and the Spanish national team, and retaining star winger Theo Walcott who has yet to be resigned in the final year of his contract, Arsenal should have no problems producing on the offensive end.
If the team is unable to keep Walcott, who is expensive but worth the price according to his manager, then they should look to a winger like Jesus Navas, also of La Liga. The Gunners have also shown interest in Nuri Sahin, as have many other teams. Both would come cheaper while producing less than Walcott (The Independent).
With Walcott still in the fold, it is the defensive end where questions remain, as Arsenal has done little to replace Alex Song and the steel he brought to the back end and defensive midfield units.
Here are a few players the Arsenal Gunners should look at in order to balance out their roster and avoid becoming a strong offensive unit prone to defensive lapses.
Chieck Tiote (Newcastle United)
Tiote, currently a member of the English Premier League team Newcastle United, would bring tenacity and intensity to the midfield. Accruing 25 yellow cards in 50 career games in two years for Newcastle, Tiote is a physical presence and a tough tackler that referees know all to well.
The Ivory Coast native brings fire to the position, and could be an asset for Arsenal.Though undersized for any of the defensive positions, Tiote would still improve the team's defense as a whole.
Philippe Mexes (AC Milan)
Another player on the Arsenal radar per the Daily Mail is Mexes, a true defender who at 30 years old is an experienced player who once starred for Roma and the French national team.
Mexes spent eight years playing for Roma, forming a dominant defensive partnership with central defender Christian Chivu before spending 2011-2012 with AC Milan.
According to the Daily Mail report, AC Milan is interested in Arsenal’s striker Nicklas Bendtner, who may lose his starting spot due to the incoming talent of Giroud and Podolski. A Bendtner trade for Mexes has been in the works, as Mexes would add much-needed defensive help to Arsenal.
Wenger seems to be trying to add more creativity to his midfield as he mulls over his transfer options. His interest in Nuri Sahin excited fans (via The Independent), but Sahin soon may be headed elsewhere. Arsenal could save money by picking up this young midfielder from the same team as recent acquisition Santi Cazorla.
Both Isco and Cazorla helped Malaga to their best finish in La Liga a year ago, and keeping them together could pay dividends for Wenger as he looks to improve the continuity on offense without van Persie to rely on.
Yann M’Vila (Rennes)
The 22-year-old defensive midfielder has already seen expressed interest from Wenger and Arsenal (via the Daily Mail), and rightfully so. With tremendous size and talent, M’Vila would not only shore up the loss of Song and improve the team defensively, but it would make the loss of Van Persie more forgettable. M'Villa is that skilled.
The French international player’s talents have exceeded Rennes, as he brings a similar tenacity to the field that Chieck Tiote does but with far less yellow cards and better size to be a strong enforcer and an asset as a tackler.
M’Vila would be a huge addition and could very well blossom into the player that Song was or better.
If Arsenal can pull off any of these additions, they will have a very strong team ready to compete in 2012-2013.
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