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
3 Yann M'Villa
Arsenal have three great central midfielders, but... They seem to be lacking a bit of muscle and Wenger has never really replaced Song. I am not entirely sure how M'Villa would look in the Arsenal team - but his tough tackling would certainly give the defence a little breathing space. Wenger has tracked him for two seasons now and his run ins with his club Rennes, mean that he will come for much less than the £15 million plus he was being touted for in the summer. If Wenger is going to completely give up on Abou Diaby then Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye would be a perfect replacement.