Arsenal don’t need a defensive midfielder, claims Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn was not concerned by Arsenal's failure to sign an established defensive midfielder in January

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
nigel winterburn
Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn Photo: Chillisauce

Nigel Winterburn insists that he was not concerned by Arsenal’s failure to bring in an established defensive midfielder during the January transfer window.

Much was made of Arsenal’s lack of cover in the holding midfield role in the build-up to this season as the Gunners were heavily linked with a bid for Real Madrid star Sami Khedira.

Arsene Wenger did bolster his squad with the addition of centre-half Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal and 17-year-old midfielder Krystian Bielik last month.

The Arsenal squad is looking pretty strong again now

Nigel Winterburn

But with Francis Coquelin impressing for the north London side in defensive midfield in recent weeks, former Arsenal defender Winterburn believes that any move for a top holding midfielder can wait until the summer, if at all.

“Coquelin’s done really well since he’s come into the team,” Winterburn told The Sport Review in an exclusive interview.

“I think Arsenal have a lot of midfield players as well. I don’t think Arsene Wenger was too worried about strengthening in January because I think he realised he couldn’t get the players he wanted anyway in that area so I think Arsenal will re-evaluate at the end of the season and

“I think if he needs a holding midfield player then they’ll buy before the start of next season.”

Winterburn – who made over 400 league appearances for Arsenal between 1987 and 2000 – is also expecting January signing Gabriel to be used sparingly this season as he gets to grips with life in England.

“I think he has been brought for the future,” said Winterburn. “He’s Brazilian, he doesn’t speak any English at the moment. I think he will get the odd game from now until the end of the season but I think we will see much more of him next season.”

However, Winterburn was pleased to see Wenger address the key areas of his side that needed strengthening last month.

He added: “The Arsenal squad is looking pretty strong again now and centre-half is the position they needed to strengthen so I’m pretty pleased even though there was only two players coming in.”

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