Arsenal received disconcerting news when they found out that Mikel Arteta would likely be sidelined for the rest of January, and Arsene Wenger is making the right move by looking for another central midfielder.
Wenger told Sky Sports that the Spanish playmaker will miss “approximately three weeks” and the manager also said, “We are in the market. We try very hard (to strengthen).”
Arteta’s absence makes the Gunners extremely thin in the center of the pitch. Abou Diaby returned to the lineup at a fortunate time, but his past with injuries suggests that the club should not count on having him available for the remainder of its campaign.
If Diaby’s health fails to hold up, or if he is unable to find good form in the coming weeks, Jack Wilshere will be the team’s only option as a deep-lying midfielder.
Arteta is 30 years old, and this is a situation that the Gunners may find themselves in again in the future if they do not add another midfielder. With Premier League fixtures against Chelsea and Liverpool set for this month, now is an excellent time to sign reinforcements.
Wenger has a decision to make, as there are two different types of players he can target to fill the hole in his lineup.
He can opt to sign a player like Arteta, who does not excel defensively, but is an elite distributor. Or he could target a player like Diaby, whose size and strength allows him to be a ball-stopper in the midfield.
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Players like Arteta are increasingly hard to find, and due to this, they tend to be expensive. Luka Modric’s availability should be a tempting option, but he is rated at £22 million according to The Sun’s Andrew Dillon. This is the type of fee a club should pay to address a dire need, not to add depth.
The team would be far better off targeting a young player who could develop as part of a rotation of defensive central midfielders. Celtic’s Victor Wanyama would be an ideal option, and The Daily Mail reported last summer that the Gunners were eyeing the 21-year-old as a replacement for Alex Song.
The report put Wanyama’s fee at £7 million, and even if this figure has risen due to his form this season, he would be worth an investment in January.
Wanyama would be an excellent option to bolster Arsenal’s midfield this season and to anchor it in the future.