Arsenal transfers: Four players Arsene Wenger should sign in January
Arsenal transfers: Trevor Murray takes a look at four players that Arsene Wenger should sign in January
Stephan El Shaarawy
Shunned to the fringes at the San Siro due to persistent injury of late, Stephan El Shaarawy seems to have lost his way to a degree with AC Milan. For a player who seems to have been on the scene for so long, it’s strange to think that he’s still only 21 years of age. Milan’s No92 is a burgeoning, blossoming talent who still has much to learn, but he’s also a player who has plenty of experience at the highest level. Amassing an impressive 16 league goals last season, El Shaarawy knows where the net is and has proven himself under pressure – remember he was brought in as an integral cog to help fill the gaping void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and had proven himself for much of 2012/13. But with Massimiliano Allegri keen to have a top striker fit and ready, El Shaarawy might well find himself ushered to the exit door come January. And that’s where Arsene Wenger should come in. With some patience and his trademark ability to nurture and develop young talent, there’s no reason why the Italy international couldn’t become a key member of Arsenal’s squad. And wth a Premier League medal in the offing, the allure of challenging Olivier Giroud to lead Arsenal’s line could well be the change of scenery he needs to keep his career on the right track.
Arsenal’s midfield might very well be brimming with talent, and although it is their biggest strength and the main threat that they carry, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad idea for Wenger to spend wisely on some top-quality players for the middle of the park. Make no mistake about it, should Mesut Ozil get injured, the Gunners would still be a force to be reckoned with, but it would certainly deal their title ambitions a massive blow. And with a player of Julian Draxler’s ability seemingly on the way out of the Veltins-Arena, it could well pay Arsenal to meet Schalke 04’s asking price to bring the 20-year-old attacking midfielder on board. After all, strength in depth is something that the north Londoners will need plenty of if they are to go all the way in Europe whilst also fending off the advances of the chasing domestic pack. With Draxler yet to solidify a place in the German national team, and with Brazil 2014 just around the corner, he could start to make in-roads with some stellar performances on a regular basis in the red and white of Arsenal, especially with a core group of Germans already in the Gunners’ squad. Schalke’s No10 has it all – great technique, he uses possession wisely, can procure a goal out of nothing and appears to have the upper body strength that would make life in the English top-flight that much easier. His move to England seems like only a matter of time, but the question remains; will Wenger splash out or will a rival snatch him out from under his nose?
The most pressing issue for Arsenal fas ahead of the January transfer window remains the search for a striker – someone who can fill the boots of Giroud whenever the French international needs a rest. With their supporters remaining unconvinced by Nicklas Bendtner, it’s vital that the chequebook comes out for the right type of centre-forward. And with Ciprian Marica only playing a bit part in Getafe’s story so far this season, it might not be too difficult to prise him away. In truth, he could well be the reinforcement they need. Despite having only scored once in La Liga this season, Getafe’s No9 is a player with bundles of talent and a point to prove, having not been given much of a chance at any of the cubs he’s been with to date. He can read the game well, has shown the capacity to quickly adapt to new environments and is a goal-poacher at heart. Should Wenger invest some faith in the 28-year-old, the Romanian could very well repay him with a few strong performances in the New Year when they really need it. Gambling on Marica might not be at the top of their agenda, but it’s important they don’t hedge all of their bets unsuccesfully elsewhere.
If Arsenal were to approach West Bromwich Albion’s Youssouf Mulumbu come the January window, it’s difficult to imagine how the DR Congo international would turn down their advances. No doubt Steve Clarke and company would demand more than enough money for their star central midfielder, but if Wenger was to go ahead and meet their asking price, he would be making another solid investment in the club. Strong, powerful and with a nice passing range, Mulumbu would add some much-needed physicality to the Arsenal squad and would be an excellent option to have ready on the bench whenever the Gunners find themselves up against a side who prefer to kick them rather than the ball – which is often a complaint that Wenger holds.The likelihood is that Mulumbu would see more cup action than anything else, but the potential for growth would certainly be there. In short, playing for the league leaders with the possibility of featuring in Europe should prove enticing enough for the Baggies’ midfielder who turns 27 at the end of January.