Arsenal are a club in crisis.
I guess I was in denial for a while, but even the most ardent Gooner can’t hide from the bitter truth any longer.
After a fourth league defeat in only seven league games—three of them to potential “title rivals” (can I even say that any more?)—we find ourselves languishing in the now-familiar climes of 15th place in the Premier League table.
Our goal difference, once a pace-setter irrespective of our league position, is yet to venture into positive territory this season. Our defense, even past the George Graham and "Invincibles" eras, was one of the most water-tight in the League.
Now it is handing out Christmas gifts three months early.
More than the points, the defeats and the goals conceded, it is the pall of gloom that has spread through the playing squad, the staff and the fans, that I find most worrisome. Be it point-blank misses, goals conceded or injuries suffered, there seems to be an air of inevitability about every setback. There's almost a sense of reluctance among some quarters to fight this rampaging epidemic.
Arsene Wenger surprised many by signing nine players during the summer transfer window. He went against both precedent and his so-called “principles” by signing a number of experienced players, creating a real flutter on transfer deadline day.
In fairness, none of these players have set the league on fire.
Additionally, two of his most important players, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen, have missed most of the season due to injury. Bacary Sagna, another defensive lynchpin, now joins them on a three-month injury-induced sabbatical. Abou Diaby, a player of whom much has been expected, is now Arsenal’s forgotten man due to a litany of injuries since he broke his leg at Sunderland five years ago. Nobody even asks about him any more.
And they aren’t the only ones. If I’m not wrong, Arsenal have averaged six to eight injured players for this entire season, which means players like Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson have had far more playing time than anyone might have expected, or their fledgling careers have deserved.
So even though we have as large a squad as any top Premier League team, is it time for Arsene Wenger to dip into his transfer chest once again? What type of player should he target in January 2012? Who may be available then? And crucially, will it be too late?
In my opinion, this Arsenal squad needs a bit of freshening-up. And a shake-up. They need two or three players of proven pedigree, some who know what it takes to win and players who can bring a winning mentality to the squad.
I’ve put together a list of 10 players I believe Arsene Wenger should look at. These are players who Arsenal may realistically be able to sign.
Wonderful as they may be, if you’re looking for Messi, Ronaldo, Xavi, Ribery, Vidic, Rooney and Aguero on this list, you’re going to be disappointed.