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Missing Links – The 5 January Signings To Get The Title Challenge Back On Track
It’s that time of year again when the January transfer window creaks slowly open, and fans of every club draw up wish-lists of those signings which might just seal the title for them/save them from relegation/cement their position of mid-table security (delete where applicable). The missing links to glory or heroic failure?
When considering the situation at Arsenal, it’s useful to keep a couple of things in mind. The first is the mercurial nature of some sections of the Arsenal fanbase. Two victories and they start celebrating an imminent title victory. Two defeats later and Wenger can fumble with his zip on someone else’s touchline.
The second is the attitude which Wenger seems to take to spending any money. It sometimes feels as if all those years scrimping and saving while the Emirates was being paid for have left Wenger with the kind of aversion to splashing out sometimes demonstrated by wealthy adults who grew up in poor households. The much vaunted ‘war chest’ we often hear about apparently makes him feel safe and secure, even if it’s not likely to grab a 90th-minute winning goal in a title deciding six-pointer.
And The Missing Links Are…
All of that having been said, there are few people – Gooners and non-Gooners alike – who wouldn’t agree that a judicious signing or two might just be enough to see Arsenal genuinely vying for the title this season, as opposed to sealing a top four spot when Spurs implode on the last day (having mocked Arsenal fans I was legally required to include that joke).
Another factor to bear in mind is the long running saga which might be entitled ‘Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and the Ongoing Contract Uncertainty’, which might see Wenger contemplating longer-term replacements for two of his most influential players.
But, as the window draws to a close, it’s widely felt once again that one or maybe even two very shrewd signing will make the pundits take note and start to consider other options than a guaranteed Chelsea title victory come May. But it’s a difficult window for any manager to pick up any available quality. Who could Wenger opt for? Here are a few suggestions, just in case he happens to stop by:
The 22-year-old Sunderland goalkeeper is seen as a long-term replacement for Peter Cech. The supposed plan is to loan him back to the Stadium of Light for the rest of the season.
Obviously, there is one minor snag in this suggestion as the Black Cats stopper continues his recovery from injury. Not a title-winning move perhaps but cynics would suggest it’s one of the more likely suggestions for the January window.
West Ham aren’t going to sell him (well, not to us, they’re not). His family is back in France, and his heart is set on a return to Marseille even if it means taking a pay-cut. But Payet did tell a magazine back in December that it would be ‘fun’ to play for Arsenal.
The question is whether Wenger feels he really needs another technically gifted attacking midfielder to add to his ever-growing collection.
Given his circumstances at West Ham, this is a very left-field suggestion although there is always the French connection and Payet wouldn’t be the first player to ever make a complete U-Turn in terms of his intended destination.
As well as Arsenal, the rest of the top four are eyeing he 20-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger. Rather than stalling until summer, reports suggest Wenger wants January action to steal a march on his rivals. Two footed, quick and tricky, Brandt could combine an instant impact with significant promise for the future.
Brandt has four full international caps to his name and has a decent eye for goal too with 17 goals from 80 league matches at Leverkusen.
The 27-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker, is by far the biggest name linked with Arsenal. Most of the speculation has revolved around Reus coming in as a replacement for Sanchez or Özil. Is signing him In January the extravagant gesture which persuades the restless pair to stay?
Of all the names on this list, Reus is the one most likely to inspire a genuine title challenge.
No list of this kind would be complete without the ‘You what?’ factor. Would Arsenal really want to re-sign their ex-captain from Chelsea, or is Cesc’s agent just having a bit of fun? We’ll know by the end of January…..
Will it be another quiet period or will Arsène finally make that marquee signing in January? The window has just a few days left to run, so we will all find out soon enough.