On one level that was a pretty impressive display by the Gunners against Newcastle. However before we get carried away and start predicting great things for the club in the new year it is worth noting the following. Firstly, injury-crippled Newcastle aren’t far off relegation fodder at the moment. Secondly Arsenal were poor for much of the first half managing only a couple of meaningful chances in addition to their goals.
There are clear holes in the team which need filling and Wenger, for all his talk of only signing exceptional players, knows this to be the case. No matter how big the new sponsorship deals are, not qualifying for The Champions League will blow a huge chasm in Arsenal’s financial plans and at the moment Arsenal look like a team that could well finish fifth or even sixth.
Also the pressure on the manager (and the board too) from the fans is starting to increase. What was the odd murmuring from disgruntled supporters a year or so ago is now a crescendo of discontent and it is an issue that needs to be met head on this January.
So, to help Arsene out a little, here are the six players who I think could transform Arsenal’s season. Obviously Arsenal would be unlikely to secure all six, but they are clearly missing a striker, a defensive midfielder, a wide player (especially if Arshavin goes) and a left back (if as expected Santos heads to Turkey).
This lot should realistically cost £30-40 million in signing on fees and a significant wad in wages. However that should still leave plenty of cash for more rebuilding, and in particular that marquee striker signing, in the summer.
So who have I missed?
Pics from PA
6 Arda Turan
With Arshavin out the door and question marks about where Walcott will be playing Arsenal need two new wide players. Zaha has to be one, but if Wenger opts for a second then Arda Turan, Atletico Madrid's Turkish star would be a very good bet. He is 25, plays on the left wing – an area where Arsenal have sometimes struggled this season with Lukas Podolski – and owing to the perilous financial nature of Spanish football he could end up costing less than £10 million. He would also be a good player to link up with Santi Cazorla and certainly works harder tracking back than Podolski. He also has plenty of pace, something that is sorely lacking in the current Arsenal team. If Wenger wants to go a little more left field then Leicester's French winger, Anthony Knockaert, would come in a fair bit cheaper.