Moves Arsene Wenger Must Make to Save His Job and Arsenal's Season
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The clock is ticking on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
While he may be the best manager in the Gunners' history, Wenger needs to start winning some titles and getting the club more competitive in the Premier League.
Champions League football simply isn't enough. It's also no longer the guarantee that it was in years past. Arsenal is only sixth in the Premier League table, four points behind Chelsea in fourth.
The financial impact of losing out on the Champions League is almost unthinkable to the club right now. Sure the club might have money saved away, but there's perhaps no club more reliant on the money earned each Champions League matchday.
Maybe Manchester United, but the Red Devils have remained at or near the top of the league table.
The slack given to Wenger shortens with each season the club fails to win a title. A finish outside the top four would likely be the final straw.
If the manager is to kick-start the Gunners' league form and save his job, these three moves would be huge.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Montpellier
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As I mentioned earlier in the week, Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa would be a great fit for Arsenal this January.
There's no way that the French club will be qualifying for Champions League or any European football for that matter next season. The 2014 World Cup is approaching, so Yanga-Mbiwa is only going to stay at Montpellier for so long.
The French defender has the kind of tactical flexibility to make him very attractive for any manager.
Yanga-Mbiwa is a natural centre-back, but he could play on the right or in the defensive midfield, which is where he would fit great for the Gunners.
As a result, Mikel Arteta could move a little bit higher up the pitch. He's played well deep in midfield, but Yanga-Mbiwa would allow Arteta to focus exclusively on the attack.
Yanga-Mbiwa is the kind of player that Alex Song wasn't, as defending is what comes naturally to him. He is not going to get exposed making attacking runs.
When it comes to ball skills, he is also very talented at distributing the ball, so he could help to start attacking moves at the back.
Adrian Lopez, Atletico Madrid
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Speculation regarding a move to the Emirates for Adrian Lopez has died down a bit recently. Wayne Veysey of Goal.com reported that Arsenal made a formal £10 million bid for the Atletico Madrid winger.
The winger is exactly what the Gunners need right now. Adrian isn't a goal scorer, which works fine because Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud can be the primary finishers.
His numbers aren't all that impressive. In 172 La Liga matches, Adrian has only recorded 25 goals and 11 assists.
Still, anyone who has watched Atletico Madrid over the past two seasons will attest to the player's quality. He was one of the club's more criticized players early in 2011/12, but he managed to become one of Atletico's most important players.
Adrian was a constant hassle for defenders as he made great runs and distributed the ball up to Falcao so the Colombian could do his job.
That play has continued into this season.
In addition, Adrian would suit the Gunners' financial structure. He has a £14.7 million release clause in his contract, and his wages wouldn't be astronomical in relation to the club's existing players.
Etienne Capoue, Toulouse
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Yann M'Vila has been linked to Arsenal for seemingly an eternity. 2012 has been very unkind to the Stade Rennes midfielder, though.
His form has been poor, and he was suspended from the national team for going out to a night club in between Under-21 Euro 2013 qualifying fixtures.
As M'Vila's star has fallen, Etienne Capoue's continues to rise. The 24-year-old Toulouse midfielder has become the preeminent ball-winning midfielder in Ligue 1.
With the flair in the Gunners' attack, it's necessary to have some players that can hold their own on the pitch.
Arsenal has never been able to replace Patrick Vieira in its midfield. Capoue could be that kind of player.
Pure defensive midfielders are being used less and less, but like most talented DMs, the Frenchman is more than just a tackling machine.
Although he's not great on the ball, Capoue has enough skills to work the ball up the pitch without handing the ball back to the opposition.
He and Yanga-Mbiwa could perform a solid partnership in the Gunners' midfield, or one or both could move into a more central defensive position.
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