Up, down, in and out.
There are many ways to attempt a description of Arsenal’s season so far, on which basis you would want to place a bet as to the final position come May. Complacency when in the lead, naivety when in tight positions and above all – more than the injuries – round pegs in square holes, have all played their roles in the inconclusive nature of the possible judgement to be made of our final status at the end of the season.
The last point, especially, was wholly avoidable at the beginning of the season as we all knew we had need of an extra central defender and a top class defensive midfielder. We’ve managed to go by with that gamble not costing us as much yet, but if we did fix those holes in January, we’d witness a balanced Arsenal squad and one whose status and expectation for the season would massively turn around.
Fabian Schar and Morgan Schneiderlin would just be the perfect fits.
At the heart of the success of their Champions League progression to the Last 16, Schar is on a fast-track to become one of Europe’s most promising central defender. A highly skillful player, his consistent turnouts for Basel have earned him great reviews from many reputable sources, as well as keen interest from Europe’s top clubs. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Manchester United and Chelsea are believed to have made enquiries about his availability before the World Cup. The recurrence of injuries to Koscielny could be signs of a series that could take some time to fully recover from and we all know how it happened with Vermaelen. There will not be many central defenders to choose from in the winter, and even if it will take a lot to convince Basel to let him go midseason, it could be about the price to be placed.
As to our options for defensive midfield, there won’t be many available for the right price and quality around that the 25-year old Southampton marshal. Schneiderlin is a hugely-framed ball playing midfielder, who is as good in coordination as in distribution, and it is certainly the kind of defensive midfielder which Wenger is in desperate need of at the moment, as neither his captain Arteta nor Mattiue Flamini are capable of providing the shelter certainly necessary for the Arsenal defence to stand the test of the campaign. Schneiderlin had desired a move from Southampton last summer following the wholesale departures of other members of the first team including Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and Rickie Lambert. He may have been convinced to stay on for one more season but with the Saints slide now kicking in, a January escape could be on the cards.
Schneiderlin appears to be the most solid option amongst all mooted about as possible acquisitions in the defensive midfield role. He has the sufficient experience of the Premier League, closer to his peak than Carvalho and is arguably very hungry for more success than the likes of Khedira.
There are few differences between we and Chelsea at the moment and most persons will point to Nemanja Matic, a point which could prove true considering he was absent when they fell at Newcastle. Arteta’s fluctuation has cost us stability, as has Koscielny’s, and there are signs that if fixed, we could mount a steady assault on all trophies available in January.
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