Arsene Wenger’s early season woes will receive a winter boost with reports that the board will hand him a £20m kitty to strengthen the ailing squad in January.
The Gunners boss has come under rigorous criticism from fans for the defensive frailties of his team which has been attributed to his failure to make the requisite additions in defence during the summer. Wenger signed Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers but they were not additions to the team as both Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen were allowed to leave the club, with Carl Jenkinson going on a season-long loan to West Ham. This has seen Arsenal so vulnerable at the back, with a huge propensity to capitulate under the slightest pressure and this is due to a few players playing out of position, especially Nacho Monreal.
Certain names have become more linked than others as potential targets for Wenger, with Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk thought to be the most probable, though his £15m valuation by Celtic may appear a little too much for Wenger’s pen. Aston Villa’s captain, Ron Vlaar, has also been loudly rumoured as the one possessing the mix of experience and ability in so dire need at the Arsenal rear guard where, at the moment, there seems to be no leadership. Mats Hummels is reportedly in favour of a move to Emirates instead of Old Trafford and his quality will undoubtedly turn the appearance of the defence around.
Wenger’s priorities will surely be to sign a defender but with a general recognition that the position of the holding midfielder has also been as gaping as the line behind, the manager may want to look out for players who are more natural to the defensive duties of that role than Arteta as well as possessing the physical presence to command hesitation from advancing opponents.
Having made five acquisitions in the summer, including star Chilean workhorse Alexis Sanchez, it looked set to be a season of change for Arsene Wenger, when the FA Cup success in May would prove a springboard to more success. 7 wins after 18 games haven’t proven a good start to the season and though we are only in November, it seems all too certain that the season would end as the previous ones. Chelsea look on course to wrap up the title, and the Champions League campaign is almost sure to end with a meeting with either one of Bayern or Barcelona again, from which we never survive.
All these could still change, though, if Wenger gives the board enough reasons to add more to the stock and stuff of the team. #20m may not even be enough. Half is better than nothing though.
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