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Arsenal FC: 5 Players the Gunners Cannot Afford to Lose in January

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IINovember 13, 2011

Arsenal FC: 5 Players the Gunners Cannot Afford to Lose in January

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    When talking about transfer rumors, most of the talk centers around who a team can afford to buy, and at what positions these new additions can fit into.

    Well, this list is a bit different. Arsenal do have their needs that need to be addressed in the January transfer window, but I won't mention the likes of Eden Hazard, Yann M'Vila or Mario Gotze here.

    These are five players the Gunners cannot afford to sell.

    Though considered by many to be deadwood and surplus to requirements, these individuals may yet have a significant role to play in the squad this season, and losing them would deal a significant blow to Arsenal's trophy hopes on all fronts.

    Enjoy.

Francis Coquelin

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    Having spent an entire season last term on loan with Lorient in France, young Francis Coquelin has expressed his dismay at the lack of playing time he is receiving at Arsenal this season.

    While he may be frustrated at having to wait for his chance, Arsenal cannot let him leave on a temporary or permanent basis during the next transfer window.

    With both Emmanuel Frimpong leaving for the African Cup of Nations this winter, Arsenal will have almost no cover for the defensive midfield position besides Coquelin, who has shown enough class in his appearances to make him a viable option to fill the gap in midfield.

Tomas Rosicky

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    While Rosicky would have certainly not merited a place on this list a couple months ago, he has certainly proven to be worthy of a mention since he began featuring again for Arsenal.

    The Czech provides the most creative force of any healthy Arsenal midfielder at present, and his frequent forays forward into dangerous areas have caused havoc in opposition defences this season.

    Though he is 30 years old, Rosicky can still pick a pass as well as any player the Gunners have right now. And the depth that Tomas adds cannot be discounted either.

    Even after Jack Wilshere returns in late January, Rosicky can be a valuable asset to an Arsenal team competing on multiple fronts and always in need of experience.

Lukasz Fabianski

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    Fabianski is another player who has grown restless with the lack of playing time he has received due to the emergence of his compatriot, Wojciech Szczesny.

    While the man formerly known as "Flappyhandski" stands little chance of displacing his fellow Pole—even though he has improved—he still has a role to play for Arsenal this year.

    Should Szczesny get injured somehow (and if he keeps entertaining us like this, it's entirely possible), Arsenal would be forced into playing Italian stopper Vito Mannone. But even worse—hold on to your hats—Manuel Almunia would be forced onto the bench.

    So, as both a cup goalkeeper and injury cover for Szczesny, Lukasz Fabianski can still add stability to the goalkeeper position and help put Arsenal fans' minds at ease.

Johan Djourou

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    Another player on whom supporter opinion is fiercely divided, Djourou brings enough value to the team to merit keeping him, at least until the summer.

    As he has shown, he can provide cover for the injured Bacary Sagna at right back if need be, while not interrupting Laurent Koscielny's rapid and continued development in the center of defence.

    But more importantly, he fills the role of fourth-choice center back that would otherwise be filled by the dreaded Sebsatien Squillaci, making it harder for Arsene Wenger to rest his first-choice pairing of Thomas Vermaelen and Koscielny.

    While Djourou has not ascended to the heights he attained last season, he is still a capable defender, and his ability to slot into defensive midfield will also prove valuable as cover for Francis Coquelin and Alex Song during the ACN.

Andrei Arshavin

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    Easily one of the most divisive players in the team, opinion on Arshavin has always been divided. But I say the time was never better to keep the mercurial Russian around.

    Again, we return to that nasty African Cup of Nations in January. With Gervinho representing the Ivory Coast, Arshavin will be thrust into action on his preferred left side of midfield.

    There are no better options to fill the gap there, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is much too raw, and Yossi Benayoun is not even our own player.

    Besides, Arshavin is one of the few players in the team with the capability to produce a breathtaking, game-changing moment, which cannot be undervalued, no matter how uninterested he may look when he plays.

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