Arsene Wenger is beginning to put the final touches to his squad for the 2014/15 season. There are only a few weeks left before the transfer window slams shut until January. Wenger knows his Arsenal squad may require some strengthening if they are to be genuine title contenders.
The first area of major concern is at centre-back. With Thomas Vermaelen having joined Barcelona, Arsenal are particularly light at the back. Beyond Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, Wenger can only call on Calum Chambers. Although Chambers is undoubtedly an excellent prospect, most of his senior football has been played at right-back. He is still learning his trade in the middle.
Arsenal need a fourth centre-half to give them depth. However, that is not the only position that requires attention. Arsenal fans still crave a powerful midfielder to replace Mikel Arteta in the holding role. The supporters are tired of seeing their midfield bullied by more physical teams. They want someone with the muscle and mentality required to win even the fiercest battles.
Perhaps Arsene Wenger could kill two birds with one stone. According to Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph, the Frenchman is considering swooping for either Luiz Gustavo or William Carvalho. Wilson claims that Wenger sees both players as capable of providing a potential solution across the two positions:
Wenger previously tried to sign Gustavo from Bayern Munich, in 2013, but he instead moved to Wolfsburg. The Brazilian’s most recognised position is central midfield – an area Wenger has considered strengthening – but he has also spent periods of his career at both centre-back and left-back.
Similarly, Carvalho is regarded as a player who could feasibly adapt from his regular central midfield position and strengthen the defensive options.
It’s easy to understand Wenger’s thinking. In this day and age, Premier League clubs are restricted by the 25-man squad rule. Versatility becomes key. There’s also a financial aspect, too: Why pay the wages of two players when one man can do both jobs?
There is an answer to that seemingly rhetorical question. Although Arsenal fans would be excited about the mooted arrival of either Carvalho or Gustavo, neither is a specialist at centre-back. In such a key area of the field, can Arsenal really afford another makeshift option? The Gunners would surely benefit from someone with plenty of experience in the role.
Most Arsenal supporters would still like to see two more players arrive: a designated defender and a recognised midfielder. However, if time and funds mean the club are restricted to recruiting just one man, a player who can double up could prove to be invaluable. Carvalho and Gustavo seem like good options, though Arsenal might want to consider someone with a little more playing time at centre-back under their belt. It’s unlikely they’d be able to prise him away from Bayern Munich, but someone like Javi Martinez would fit the bill perfectly.
Arsenal fans need not panic. There is still time for Arsene Wenger to find the perfect man. Perhaps he could yet unearth a player capable of doing both jobs equally well.