Whilst everyone is focused on Arsenal’s hunt for a striker, Gunners legend Ray Parlour believes that a striker isn’t the only position the north Londoners need to focus on.
Speaking to SkySports Parlour, who is often outspoken about his former club and what he believes needs to be done to see Arsenal improve, has this time been talking about the current transfer situation. Parlour doesn’t seem overly impressed with Arsene Wenger’s business so far this summer and is hoping that the Gunners strengthen in positions all across the pitch ahead of upcoming season.
Parlour had previously spoken about who he thinks should come to Arsenal in the striker department and of course the usual names came to mind including Greizmann, Lukaku, Lacazette and Morata. But it’s Parlour’s interest in the other positions on the pitch that I want to focus on. Parlour told SkySports:
“For me, bringing in another centre-half is key. Per Mertesacker’s got that little bit older and Gabriel’s not really settled in yet. Maybe he can get better once he’s more used to the demands of the Premier League but certainly they need another one in there.”
In my opinion Parlour is spot on. Mertesacker can still do a fair job, but with age no longer on his side, his pace is only getting even worse and soon he simply won’t have the physicality to compete in the Premier League. Gabriel remains promising, but hasn’t really adapted and having now been at the club for a year and a half, he really needs to improve soon.
Parlour continued: “They could also do with another midfielder. They’ve lost Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini and although none of them played on a regular basis last season, you need a big squad of players. Granit Xhaka, who they’ve brought in from Borussia Monchengladbach, is a good player. However, they still could do with maybe one more in there.”
I must admit I don’t entirely agree with the former midfielder on this one, only to some extent. We did lose three midfielders this summer due to retirement and contractual ends, but these three players were on the fringe of things and weren’t the most valuable players at Arsenal. All three are very respectable in the eyes of the club, but hadn’t featured too much in latter years and so with the signing of Xhaka, the promotion of Reine-Adelaine, as well as Elneny only joining last January, I think we are already fully packed in midfield. If a top quality midfielder is available however, then Arsenal certainly shouldn’t be afraid to show an interest.
Parlour finalised by saying: “I think they’ve got a very good squad. The age of the squad is very good and with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, who has had a good Euro 2016, Sanchez, Ozil and Jack Wilshere, they’ve got a good group of players. Hopefully, Wilshere can stay fit and have an impact this season.”
One big point to make here is that the squad is now in its prime in terms of age. Cech is in his prime as a keeper, Koscielny and Monreal have plenty of experience. The midfield is packed full of experience from Ramsey, Cazorla etc, whilst Ozil and Sanchez know what it’s like to be a winner. The squad is strong in terms of experience and Arsenal is no longer a side full of youth like it was a few years back. Wenger wanted to win the league with a youthful side, but it was proven that a team full young players just don’t have the winning and experienced mentality that is needed to win major honours. Arsenal has a strong side full of talent, but a few more additions here and there would really take us to the very top levels once again, in challenging for major honours.