Arsenal Transfer Prospects: 5 Huge Deals Wenger Might Make in January
First of all, a hearty welcome back to myself after a week of no power and Internet due to Hurricane Sandy. I missed you all, and I'm not going anywhere.
But life, and football, goes on. While I was freezing in New Jersey, Arsenal capitulated meekly to Manchester United, showing again that this team is not remotely capable of challenging for the title.
Arsene Wenger's inflexibility needs to change. I'm not part of the Piers Morgan brigade that calls for his sacking every week, but the manager's tactics and personnel need to be shaken up soon.
As we plunge into November, the prospect of January reshuffling gets ever closer. While it seems as likely for Wenger to take advantage of the new transfer window as a pink elephant flying into Times Square tomorrow, we must hold out some hope.
Here are several moves that the manager could make.
Wilfried Zaha in
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The danger with Wilfried Zaha is that fans get their hopes up for a raw 19-year-old who is not immediately capable of helping the team to its first trophy since Zaha started puberty.
Perhaps Zaha could be Theo Walcott's replacement if the star winger leaves this winter (more on that in a bit), and Arsene Wenger wants to develop someone to take his place.
The Daily Mail certainly think this move is a possibility. By purchasing Zaha in January, Wenger will be preempting other teams that would rather sign him in the summer, thereby reducing his price.
Andre Schurrle in
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With Arsenal a bit light on strikers and in need of support out wide, Andre Schurrle would be the perfect addition to a beleaguered core of forwards.
Watching the Gunners in recent games, their ineptitude up front has been astounding. Lukas Podolski and whomever is selected to play on the right have turned in utterly lackluster performances, and Olivier Giroud can't do anything with the meager service he is receiving.
People have come to expect better from an Arsene Wenger team, and many are wondering where the spark has gone.
As a proven international with versatility and great technical ability, Schurrle would be the perfect spark. The Daily Mail agree.
Andre Santos out
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The last Arsenal fan favorite who frequently turned in questionable performances and tested the patience of the manager was Emmanuel Eboue.
After years of frustration, the final straw for Arsene Wenger came when Eboue effectively ended Arsenal's title challenge by conceding a 100th-minute penalty to Liverpool at home.
With Andre Santos failing miserably in consecutive games and clearly second choice to Kieran Gibbs, who has developed nicely, could Santos' cavorting with Robin van Persie last weekend have sent Wenger over the edge?
Reportedly, the manager was furious, and rightly so. If he wants to let Santos go, there would surely be many suitors for an international of his talent, but a sturdy replacement would need to be lined up due to Kieran Gibbs' fragility.
Lewis Holtby in
What seemed like an area of great strength and depth for Arsenal at the beginning of the season has gotten so thin that Jack Wilshere, in his second senior game back after a 17-month injury absence, was left on against Manchester United of all teams because "there were no offensive central midfielders on the bench...."
With Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky unable to be depended on and various players suffering through poor form, an injection of something different is needed.
Remember when Santi Cazorla came in, and his liveliness and creativity were so refreshing? Then you might just feel the same way about Lewis Holtby.
A similar sort of dynamic, versatile midfielder who can score with both feet, Holtby would instantly add depth and balance to a depleted midfield if he arrives. According to the BBC, it could be in the works.
Theo Walcott out
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Look, I know it hurts, but I had to bring it up eventually.
The bottom line with Theo Walcott is that, come July, he will be a free agent and may sign wherever he chooses for an inflated salary. Whether or not he only wants to be a striker is unclear, but silence from Walcott is very disheartening.
Arsene Wenger has smartly punted the ball into his player's court by setting a Christmas deadline for a contract to be signed and stating definitively that Walcott belongs at striker.
But Walcott just won't Sign Da Ting. And while I think that his services should be used until he is no longer obligated to provide them, we'll just have to wait and see whether Wenger and the Arsenal brass try to get some return on Walcott by dumping him early.
At the risk of delving into the extreme, perhaps this whole saga could give us some idea of where Arsenal is headed.