Under the Gun: January To Be Crucial for Arsenal

Eddy HironoCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2007

Icon Sports MediaObservers have called December a crucial month for Arsenal—and it's hard to disagree, given the club's number of away games and the looming clash with Chelsea.

That said, January may well prove to be the pivotal point of the Gunners' season.

Losing Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue to the African Cup of Nations will hurt. Toure has been a colossus at the heart of Arsenal's defence, and Eboue's loss is sure to be felt further upfield.

As it stands, Eboue and Alexander Hleb are the Gunners' only viable options on the right side. Eboue's departure would mean more time for Theo Walcott, who at this point in his career is better suited to be a high-energy impact sub.

Hleb, for his part, has recently been the victim of some nasty challenges (from Mark Noble and John Carew in particular). His creativity was sorely missed against Newcastle on Wednesday night—and losing him in January would be a huge blow to the club.

As Toure and Eboue both hail from African powerhouse Ivory Coast, they're likely to be out for quite some time. With that in mind, Arsene Wenger may look to secure some reinforcements in the January transfer window.

A centre back would be especially useful—a player in the mould of Laurent Blanc when he joined Manchester United, who could contribute on the field and help young players develop in a short stint with the club.

Jaap Stam—who would also give us an aerial presence on the back line—comes to mind.

Arsene might also want to consider bringing in a winger. Tomas Rosicky does a decent job on the left, but he's not a natural wing player, and his injury history might come back to haunt the Gunners. In Eboue's absence, we'd ideally land someone who can play on both flanks.

Luka Modric is a possibility here, but I think Valencia's David Silva would be a better option. Silva would cost a pretty penny—but Arsene has more than a few quid in his wallet, doesn't he?

Silva has strong pace, great touch, and a nose for the net. He can also play anywhere across the midfield, and has age on his side.

Maybe Cesc Fabregas can use his Spanish connections to lure Silva to Arsenal. I can only hope.

Speaking of transfers, one player I don't want Arsene to release is Jens Lehmann. Although Manuel Almunia has earned his spot in goal, the experienced (if eccentric) Lehman will keep the starter on his toes.

If all goes well, the Gunners will be properly reinforced by the end of January—and still sitting atop the table. Under those circumstances, I dare say we'd do even better than the Invincibles—probably adding the Champions League trophy to our cabinet.