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
2 David Villa
Are we into fantasy land here? Well signing the Spanish superstar on a permanent deal is unlikely, but a loan would make sense for everyone. Arsenal will have a lot of cash to play with in the summer, so maybe then it is the time to think about that marquee striker signing - Lloriente, Falcao (in Wenger's dreams) etc. Until then the number one priority has to be qualifying for The Champions League while getting the most out of Arsenal's existing attacking options. Both Walcott and Giroud are starting to look like they are capable of scoring a lot of goals, so Wenger needs to keep their momentum going. Villa would not be able to play in The Champions League, but I think he would be brilliant at leading the line in the Premiership. His arrival would certainly create a buzz around The Emirates and inspire the belief that Arsenal can mix it with Chelsea and City as well as Spurs and Everton. It just doesn't feel like it is too much of a gamble. The hard part? Well that's persuading Barcelona to let him go,