With the January window now open, clubs have the opportunity to strengthen their squads in order to improve, or maintain, their current season form. In Arsenal’s case, the former matters more. Their form so far has been poor with a touch of brilliance. 5-2 win at home to Tottenham, 1-0 loss away at Norwich. 7-3 win at home to Newcastle, 3-3 draw at home to Fulham. I could go on.
The squad could do with a couple of extra players, but who? Arsene, if you’re reading, here are my suggestions for the midfield area. Note: just one of these would suffice.
Potential value: £10-15 Million
I’ll put my hands up; I’ve not seen a lot of him. However, what I have seen has been impressive. The Brazilian star has been a key man in the heart of Corinthians midfield, alongside his compatriot and fellow enforcer, Ralf. So much so, he’s managed to force his way into the National side. He can pass, get forward, tackle – all good attributes for a midfielder in the Arsenal side.
Arsenal have been linked with him previously, and it seems to be Chelsea and Manchester City who’re the current Premier League teams linked with the powerful box-to-box man. The 24-year old is noted for his attributes in defence, his ability to aid the attack and discipline off the ball. He’d offer a lot to Arsenal; his battling style would be very useful in a rather technical midfield and he’d maybe allow Mikel Arteta the freedom to move further up the pitch.
He’ works well in a double-pivot, and would compliment the aforementioned Mikel Arteta, or Jack Wilshere equally as well. If Mr Wenger was to sign a midfielder, then there are many options, but the one I’d love, is Paulinho. Even though he has stated his desire to stay in Brazil. Shame.
Club: West Ham
Potential value: £3.5M
The France-born Senegalese midfielder has enjoyed a good start to his West Ham career after signing on a free from fellow Premier League club, Wigan. He’s a midfielder of the Diaby mould; tall, strong, powerful, quick – which is pretty much what we need. With Diaby looking like he’s never going to overcome his injuries despite being back in training (#BlameDanSmith), a midfielder of his ilk would be welcome. Diame may not be as good as Diaby, but he does have a similar sounding name. And for £3.5M, his reported release clause, you can’t really say no.
Arsenal’s midfield has missed a presence and Diame could fill that role rather well. Diame has shone when he’s played Arsenal in the past, even scoring his first West Ham goal in their 3-1 defeat against the Gunners. The 25-year old has ability to control a game from midfield, the power to unsettle opponents and the good old clichéd, ‘good feet for a big man’. Like Paulinho, he’d compliment either of the current Arsenal midfielders equally as well and would provide the club with another dimension to utilise.
We’ve seen the importance of a box-to-box powerhouse before. Diaby’s performance at Anfield early in the season and Yaya Toure’s performances for Man City last season being good examples. And, of course, Patrick Vieira’s Arsenal career being a great example of power in a Gunners’ midfield working a treat. There may be better buys out there, but for the price floating around in the media, he represents good value for money. I’d certainly welcome him, and I know some other Arsenal fans would like to see him at the club too.
The Real Aaron Ramsey
Potential value: N/A
Young Rambo has come in for some criticism recently, but I believe there is a good player in there somewhere. Since his injury, Aaron has had a tough time. He missed plenty of football during a time where he was once rated higher than Jack Wilshere. A time where he was beginning to settle in the Arsenal midfield, alongside Cesc Fabregas. A time where he was slowly becoming indispensable. Since then, he’s dealt with the pressure of captaining his country, the task of playing in an unfamiliar position and the horrible process of dealing with the tragic death of his mentor, manager and leader, Gary Speed.
I remember his performance in a 1-0 win at home to Manchester United. He hadn’t long been back, but in the absence of Fabregas, Aaron played alongside Jack Wilshere, and absolutely bossed the game, even scoring the winner. I remember a bright, exuberant , creative young midfielder with the world at his feet. Unfortunately, he ‘s struggled to recapture his old form. Whether that’s down to being played out of position, coping with the loss of Gary Speed or anything else is irrelevant. He just doesn’t look as bright as he once did.
The great thing about Ramsey, is he never hides. He always wants the ball, he’s always trying to improve, always trying to help the side and, quite frankly, the way he’s being treated by fans, is pathetic. He regularly receives abuse, and regardless of opinions on players, it’s plain wrong. No one deserves it. Aaron deserves a chance to progress here, so the news he’s just signed a new contract as part of the new British core is great news to me.
Arsene Wenger believed in a much maligned Alex Song. A player who no one thought could make it, but Wenger did. Now people are moaning that he’d left. So if he believes in Aaron, then so do I. Yes, the manager has got things wrong in the past, but there’s a reason Ramsey was so highly rated at Cardiff. I hope to see him return to his old self soon. Time to support the kid again.
So there they are: The 3 midfielders I think Arsenal could do with. Thanks for reading this brief post.