Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed that the he will not implement changes into his squad during the January transfer window, despite the Gunners inconsistent start to the 2010-11 season. The Frenchman wants to preserve the squad currently at his disposal and will look to maintain every presence available.
The North London giants are second in the English Premier League table despite boasting five losses this season, three of which have come at home. Arsene Wenger's men also only just qualified on the final day for the UEFA Champions League round of 16 after conceding consecutive losses.
However, Arsenal's attack has been potent and entertaining for the predominant start of the season. The introduction of imposing striker Marouane Chamakh, who arrived in the summer from French giant Girondins Bordeaux has ensured a stronger forward line, whilst the form of Samir Nasri and the emergence of Jack Wilshere has also boosted the Gunners attacking credentials.
The same can't be said for Wenger's defensive line. During the recent summer, the Frenchman released Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre, Philippe Senderos and Kerrea Gilbert, leaving Thomas Vermaelen as the only recognised centre half.
Wenger was able to acquire the services of French duo Laurent Koscienly and Sebastien Squillaci, as well as receiving Johan Djourou, who had missed all but the last game of the 2009-10 season through injury. Koscienly, who arrived from French outfit Lorient FC for £10 million, and Squillaci, who arrived from Spanish giants Seville for £3.4 million, have struggled to form a strong relationship as centre halves.
Djourou has been superb on returning from a serious knee injury but is still lacking premium fitness and is unable to play on a consistent basis. The biggest blow, however, has been the persistent Achilles injury to Thomas Vemaelen. The Belgium is regarded as the defensive leader at Arsenal and his tenacity and strength is an invaluable asset to the Gunners.
If Wenger wants to preserve his chances of breaking Arsenal's notorious five year trophy drought, then it appears necessary for the French tactician to use the finances available, which is over £40 million.
Vermaelen is not expected to return until January, and even then the former Ajax captain will require time to regain full fitness. So come January Wenger may have to go against his word, to the fans enjoyment, and spend.
With Wenger a native of France, the 61-year-old is a keen admirer of French footballers and French sides. A large number of Wenger's squad is French, or have come from French sides. Currently leading the French Ligue 1 table is Lille OSC and there are three players on the Mastiffs who could greatly benefit Wenger.
1. Adil Rami, £10-15 million
Rami is a strong, tenacious defender with an imposing figure and great strength. For a number of seasons now the Frenchman has been a consistent presence in the Lille backline which has prompted a number of big name clubs including Spanish giant Valencia, and Liverpool to take a great interest in the 6'3" centre half.
The 24-year-old, who recently became a France international, is a typical Wenger signing. French, strong, intelligent and an able ball player. Lille regard their defender highly but are said to be willingly to sell Rami in January.
Wenger has sufficient funds to target the former Frejus defender, who would surely help aid Arsenal defensive woes. Blessed with a big frame that would benefit the Gunners from set pieces, as well as impressive pace an an admirable work rate, Adil Rami could be the saviour Arsenal need.
2. Yohan Cabaye, £7-12 million
The 24-year-old midfielder is a strong, powerful ball player with impressive speed and an incisive passing range. The French international has been a consistent force for Lille for over six seasons and has been an eye catching performer this season as Lille continue to impress.
Capable of playing as a defensive midfielder or a natural playmaker, Cabaye would be a useful addition to the Gunners lineup and would help mitigate if Tomas Rosicky and Denilson are eventually sold. The Frenchman is blessed with a tireless work rate and sensational vision as well as a contributing eye for goal.
Wenger would be able to secure the French dynamo's services for a cheap price and can count on Cabaye to maintain fitness and perform in big games.
3. Eden Hazard, £13-20 million
Regarded as the best teenage talent in world football, Hazard has been superb for Lille since bursting onto the scene in 2007. The 19-year-old has won the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year for the past two seasons as well as being touted as the next Cristiano Ronaldo.
A fast, skillful midfielder who is best suited as a winger, Hazard has expressed his desire to play for Arsenal and his admiration of the football they play. The Belgium, who made his debut for the national side at 17, is a natural goal scorer and devastating ball runner who would be the perfect replacement for the ageing Andrei Arshavin.
Due to the teenagers immense talent, a hefty price tag is on Hazard's head, but his desire to play for Arsenal has Wenger in pole position to sign the best teenager in world football.
January is still a short time away, but could this Lille trio be just what Wenger needs?