Arsenal Transfers: 5 January Signings to Take the Gunners to the Next Level
Arsenal have made a very good start to this young season, but they are far from a perfect team.
In fact, there are many minor flaws and weaknesses in the side that could potentially prevent Arsene Wenger's side from challenging for trophies and, potentially, the Premier League title.
Certainly, the squad has come a long way. Many of the holes that we knew existed were plugged in the last transfer window, with others being filled by players who have continuously been performing above the low expectations set for them.
Most would agree, however, that if the Gunners want to move from a top-four side to one that could make a run at the title, a couple of new faces must be brought in during the winter to solidify a promising team.
Here are a few possibilities.
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Didier Drogba doesn't exactly fit the mold of an Arsene Wenger signing. At 34 years old and playing for Shanghai Shenhua in the Far East, he is perhaps not the unknown youngster that many expect.
Yet a return to the Premier League makes sense for Drogba, and doing it with Arsenal makes even more.
The Gunners could use another physical body up front to help out Olivier Giroud when he is injured, tired or not on form, and there have been whispers of the Ivorian being unhappy in China almost as soon as he got off the plane.
Obviously, a long-term deal would not be appropriate here, but for a few months, Drogba could have a really positive impact on a club that he destroyed for so many years.
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Fernando Llorente may be as likely to come to the Emirates as Stan Kroenke is of doing a tell-all interview.
In other words, the Spaniard will not, in all likelihood, be an Arsenal player this January. But he certainly should be, and we might yet see him switch sides during a future summer transfer window.
Llorente would add valuable depth up front, and he would provide the sort of element up front that only Olivier Giroud can at the moment. When the Frenchman does not start, as against Manchester City, there is little physical presence at striker, unless you think Gervinho counts as a battering ram.
With his combination of size, strength and, of course, finishing ability, Llorente would take little time to adapt to England and would leave defenders quaking in their boots.
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If Arsenal could rob Malaga of their best player due to the Spanish club's financial struggles, why not take another for good measure?
Isco impressed enough for his club to earn a spot in Spain's ill-fated Olympic squad. He formed a partnership with Santi Cazorla last season that played an enormous role in lifting Malaga to the Champions League.
We know that Arsene Wenger greatly admires Spanish players, and for good reason: when possibly the greatest generation of players in any country continue to flourish, why not hop on the gravy train?
Isco might present another opportunity to do so.
Amidst all the Yann M'Vila talk this past summer was Toulouse's equally talented but much less-hyped defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue. He is exactly the type of player one could see making a move to Arsenal.
Yes, he's relatively young, French, has a great deal of potential and is experienced in Ligue 1, but, more importantly, Capoue fills some important gaps that might open up in the team during the course of the season.
Arsenal have been operating just fine without a defensive midfielder this season, as Mikel Arteta has filled the role of the pivote with aplomb. But the Spanish maestro cannot play every game and is as prone to injury as the next player, meaning that someone must fill his gap.
At this point, Francis Coquelin looks like the only readily available replacement, with Emmanuel Frimpong still inexperienced and just returning from his second ACL tear. Capoue would be quite a good insurance policy, indeed.
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Obviously, Theo Walcott would not be a signing in the "transfer" sense, but, rather, would finally put pen to paper on a new contract in January.
Not that his re-signing should portent his return to the starting XI, but every other player on this list would serve some sort of role primarily off the bench, and Walcott's contributions would be just as valuable as any other player's.
Of course, he has that one, singular attribute which can change games by itself: pace. But other than that, there has not been much else recently, and that has left some questioning whether Theo should sign on again even if he is so inclined.
I think that, if he is humble enough, the Englishman still has a huge role to play for this Arsenal team. The side is a better one if only because of the threat he brings as a late substitute against weary legs.
Having a motivated and assured Walcott could be one of those little things that carries Arsenal to a major trophy for the first time in eight years.