Arsenal FC: 5 Players Arsene Wenger Should've Signed This Summer
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The Gunners ultimately panic-bought players at the end of the window, signing unlikely targets such as Park Chu-Young, Andre Santos and Yossi Benayoun.
Mikel Arteta has turned out to be a very shrewd acquisition from Everton, but the same can't be said for Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen, a signing who has struggled so far in the Premier League and was seemingly just bought, like the others, to paper over the cracks.
And such lack of decent investment has so far cost Arsenal dearly. Following their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, their fourth loss of the season, they languish 15th in the Premier League table, behind the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City and Swansea City.
With that in mind, here are five players who could have made life a lot easier for Arsene Wenger right now.
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It took an 8-2 hammering from Manchester United for Arsene Wenger to realise that he really did need to add not just depth, but experience to his squad.
He ultimately did that by signing Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta, two Premier-League-proven players who suit the way Arsenal play.
There was clear logic in those signings, considering they could immediately add their experience to the team and not have to re-adjust to a new style of football.
However, as Scott Parker proved against Arsenal for Tottenham, with the benefit of hindsight it's clear the Gunners need a strong holding midfielder who can tackle and has controlled aggression.
And that midfielder is Parker himself, a man who made more successful tackles last season than any Arsenal midfielder, with 3.8 per game.
He's a no-nonsense player with an incredible work rate in central midfield, something the Gunners have lacked recently, and also adds a spark of creativity too, having a 83 percent pass success rate last season—which would have suited Arsenal perfectly.
Having been available for just £5.5million, no wonder Harry Redknapp was keen to snap him up despite his age.
With no leadership in midfield, a lack of experienced options in the holding midfield role and no player with combined quality of excellent work rate and great tackling, Scott Parker is a player who would've solved all those problems for Arsene Wenger.
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Arsene Wenger clearly had faith in Kieran Gibbs after the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City, but after the defender got injured, he realised he had a lack of solid options.
By which time, his top full-back target Enrique had completed his move to Liverpool, meaning Wenger had to wait until the end of the window before signing Andre Santos from Fenerbahce, a player with no experience in a top European league.
However, had the Arsenal boss just listened to public opinion and used the Clichy money to sign Enrique, who was available at a bargain £6million, then it all could've turned out different for the Frenchman.
After all, the Gunners have already conceded 16 goals this season, many of them from the wings. Enrique's signing could've plugged that gap, considering the Spaniard has proven defensive ability, winning 50 tackles last season, with a tackle success rate of 84 percent—better than any Arsenal full-back.
And, he's also a player in the Arsenal mould, having the desire and ability to start play from the back and to get forward and help in attack.
He made 29 key passes last season, as well as 1248 successful passes overall, with such creativity giving Arsenal another outlet of attack. And considering their current predicament, it's an outlet they could do with.
Lastly, unlike a lot of the Gunners squad, Enrique is also a player not prone to injury, considering he started 36 league games for Newcastle last season and has started in the same fashion for Liverpool, making him the most durable left-back in the Premier League at the moment.
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As much as Arsenal fans hate to think it, Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton could have easily ended up at the Emirates this season.
Had it not been for the Gervinho incident when he played for Newcastle United in their 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal at the start of August, Barton wouldn't need to be on this list.
As the man himself says, "If I hadn't played against Arsenal, I may have signed for them."
"There were a couple of conversations [with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger] but that's different to actually signing."
"The Gervinho incident happened and there's nothing I can do about it now. If it happened again, I'd like to think I'd deal with it differently."
And had he not played against Arsenal, he could have well made them a better side than they are right now.
After all, he has the creativity to play the Arsenal way, considering he made nine assists last season—more than any Arsenal midfielder (apart from the departed Cesc Fabregas)—as well as 81 key passes.
But he also has the intimidation and tough tackling that the Gunners need, and have lacked, this season, as well as the leadership of course.
Unlike Yossi Benayoun, who only adds to an already overloaded area for Arsenal, Joey Barton might possibly have been the signing Arsene Wenger could've done with the most.
Click here for some more reasons why.
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Despite the wishes of the Blackburn Rovers defender himself, Christopher Samba never signed for Arsenal in the summer, with Arsene Wenger preferring Per Mertesacker at the final hour.
Which is a shame, as unlike the German, Samba is a proven Premier League centre-back who has learnt from experience and knows what it takes to stop strikers in England's top-flight.
The 27-year-old is entering the peak of his athletic career, as well as his sixth season with Blackburn Rovers, and is still putting in consistent performances week in, week out.
And it's such consistency the Arsenal back line could do with right now, with Laurent Koscielny's form dipping all over the place and Mertesacker still not adjusting properly to the demands of the Premier League.
Their defence also needs an authoritarian leader, not just a democratic one (i.e. Thomas Vermaelen), someone who will just tell the players plain and simple, "Sort it out!"
Because at the moment when Arsenal concede, the players look to the ground, or have goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny trying to encourage the team again. What they don't have, and need, is a player on who will really shout at his teammates and give them a telling-off for conceding a goal, making sure it doesn't happen again.
Not only does Christopher Samba solve that problem, but he also adds that intimidation factor Arsenal's back four just don't have.
Per Mertesacker believes in the art of tackling, winning the ball cleanly and starting an attack from the back. Unlike the Bundesliga, that doesn't happen in the Premier League, with forwards in the English top-flight making sure the defender gets fouled rather than them being cleanly tackled.
That's another problem in Arsenal's defence, with no defender playing the forwards at their own game. Christopher Samba, however, does that brilliantly.
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If there's one player Arsenal could have done with more than anyone, it's Lille OSC winger Eden Hazard.
Yes, there are already enough players in the 20-year-old Belgian's mould at Arsenal, and, yes, Gervinho adequately fills the gap left by Samir Nasri anyway.
But by signing £26 million-rated Hazard, one thing Arsene Wenger would have done more than anything is send out a signal, proving to Premier League and UEFA Champions League rivals that Arsenal mean business.
Manchester City drafted in some of the best players in the world this summer in Sergio Aguero and Nasri from the Gunners. It sent a message to everyone else, showing City's intent to go one further than last season and win the Premier League.
It's a psychological tactic that's worked, considering City are joint top with Manchester United in the league table.
Chelsea have also done it with the signings of Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata, again proving they mean business. Manchester United likewise with the big money signings of Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea.
What sets these teams apart from the likes of Arsenal is that they show world football they're powerful clubs who mean business with such high-profile signings. Those names on the teamsheet strike fear into the opposition.
Had Arsene Wenger added a high-profile star to his team, a lot more teams in the Premier League would've taken Arsenal more seriously and been much more scared of what they can do.
As it is, they're just a team who play beautiful football, but can be outmuscled with ease.