Prudent January Window Could Win the League for Arsenal by NO
No doubt, Arsenal’s first IX in a case where all the players are available is a team that can beat anyone, anywhere.
Unfortunately, when the first IX is facing difficulties such as injuries, this is the time when Arsenal truly loses out on their momentum. I write with a view to encourage the utilization of the winter window to resolve these inadequacies and be in line to fully sustain the title challenge.
Two specific roles in the current first IX need to be beefed up to ensure the entire team is world class. These are the Centre forward and the Right wing. On the right wing we have had to allow trial and error kind of an arrangement. Players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, and Campbell have yet to turn the role into an exclusive role for themselves. It is a place we should consider signing a world class winger in the mould of Sanchez. In fact, let me throw some spanners in the works. Is it a coincidence that our recent injuries are on three players who would generally play in that role? Is it stretching the imagination that teams actually attack that side with the perception that it is the ‘weak link?’
Bring in Jose Maria Callejon from Napoli. Signing Callejon would also help in case there is need for emergency replacement for the centre forward role as well as the attacking midfield role. At 28 his arrival will not inhibit the development of younger players – most of who ply their trade in that role. Playing with his fellow country man Bellerin in the same wing would be an extra incentive to the younger player to even deliver much more.
In the centre forward role I would go for Edison Cavani of Pierre Aubameyang. Any of these two would seal the role and ensure the work of the rest of the team is rewarded by a more clinical capacity to win games by scoring goals. With these two additions, the first IX will be fully world class.
Now, we need to ensure that there is enough and capable bench power to adequately replace in places that the first IX need to be helped over, be it from injuries, fatigue or otherwise.
Enter Lucas Ocampos from Olympic Marseille. He is left winger, aged 21, and can be trained with a view to take over from Sanchez. Like Sanchez, he too can play the right as well as center forward with a potentially extra advantage, he is ambidextrous. At the back of the minds of most if not all Arsenal fans is the fear – What if Sanchez is unavailable? The arrival of Lucas Ocampos would be one way towards resting such a fear.
The other Key roles that we are just an injury away from getting in serious need over, is in the central position. Both Cazorla and Coquelin are very key in our game right this minute and therefore having no replacement could bring major suffering to our title challenge. A player like Romulo Borges Montiero from Spartak Moscow would be a worthy back up for both roles. He is primarily a defensive midfielder but can operate the central midfield as well.
We are also in need to reinforcements in the right back department. Fabio Coentrao would be a viable option when we cannot field Hector Bellerin. In fact Coentroa would even be a challenger who would keep the young player working hard. Being 28 and Spanish the two would hopefully settle into the finalization of the development of the younger player.
Recalling of Wojciech Szczesny from Roma would be the most prudent option to seal the Goalkeeping fears. I shudder to think of a time that Petr Cech becomes unavailable. Szczesny has even been quoted as saying he would love to return to Arsenal and I feel being young he would not mind improving his goalkeeping role sharing the same training ground with Petr Cech.
With these additions, there could be need to release some players to ensure the wage basket does not burst. I would suggest – Release Giroud for at the age of 29, and having been with Arsenal for three years now, he is player who has had opportunity to seal his place but has not really managed to do so. Mathieu Debuchy is a player we can afford to let go especially if we seal Coentrao’s signature. Flamini, and Rosicky can be sold out in January to make space. Perhaps, Arteta can stay as a back up and for his role in the dressing room. If David Ospina feels he needs to leave then with the return of Szczesny, he can be allowed to leave.
My preferred first IX in January 2016
BELLERIN, GABRIEL, KOSCIELNY, MONREAL
With Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck, Wilshere, and Iwobi knocking on the door, and possibly taking up some roles in the bench, the first IX as well as the Bench will be strong enough to go all out in the title chase.