Football

Arsenal: Four positions that need strengthening

Wenger is expected to spend big this summer (©GettyImages)
Wenger is expected to spend big this summer (©GettyImages).

With Arsenal reportedly given £70m to spend on transfers, we look at the positions on the pitch that Arsene Wenger must be looking to improve.

This could help to make them compete for the title rather than a top-four finish, which has been the target in recent seasons

There are four main positions which will be analysed in the article below:

Right-back

Although Arsenal do have two right-backs in the squad, in the shape of Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson, I feel this is still an area of weakness in the team.

Firstly, Jenkinson is still a youngster learning his trade and, although a promising full-back, is far from the finished article. Whereas Sagna, in my opinion, has struggled in recent season due to the leg injuries which he has suffered.

His crossing was off last season and at times seemed to get lost in terms of his defensive positions. This, coupled with the fact that he is rumoured to be wanting a return to France, means it could  be time for Arsenal to get rid of Sagna, before using the funds from his transfer and reinvesting them to bring in another established right-back.

In terms of potential replacements for Sagna, I feel Lukasz Piszczek would be the most ideal replacement. He has flourished in a Borussia Dortmund team, which has gone from strength to strength, reaching the Champions League final this year.

However, there seems to be a max exodus from the club with Mario Gotze already leaving and reported that star striker Robert Lewandowski is keen on a move away; it could be Piszczek may be willing to join the exodus.

Obviously this is all speculation I would also keep an eye on the contract situation with Micah Richards at Manchester City as he seems to be playing second fiddle at the moment to Paolo Zabaleta. Therefore he could be persuaded to leave if he is failing to get first-team football, especially with the World Cup at the end of next season.

Obviously this is all speculation in terms of potential targets and in all honesty, out of the four areas to be examined this is the least important area as I do feel Sagna is still a decent player and is still a quality right-back.

It’s just an area that will need to be improved, if not this season but in the coming seasons as Sagna enters the later stage of his career.

Centre-back

The centre of defence has always been Arsenal’s Achilles heel in recent seasons and is once again an area to improve.

After finally getting rid of Sébastien Squillaci and the expected departure of Johann Djourou, who spent most of last season on loan at Hannover, this would leave Arsenal with three recognised centre-backs in the shape of Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny.

In my opinion a team should have a recognised four centre-backs to help cope with a hectic season and the potential injuries which may occur.

According to reports Arsenal are highly interested in £10m-rated defender Ashley Williams of Swansea, who would be a perfect addiction. He is strong quick and composed when in position and in addition to this possesses great leadership quality - often a characteristic Arsenal centre-backs have been missing in recent seasons.

Other potential recruits could include Inigo Martinez, who has impressed last season for Real Sociedad, enabling them to finish fourth in the league, which gained him a spot in the Liga team of the season.

He has played a crucial role in helping Spain lift the European U21 Championships and would appeal to Wenger due to him being 22 - plus he has the ability to play a pass and start the attacking moves from the back.

In addition to this other potential recruits could be Mamadou Sakho and Federico Fazio, who would be more plausible due to the financial difficulty at Seville. In addition to this, Wenger already been reported to have an interest in Fazio due to his size and technical ability.

Defensive midfielder 

Arsenal never really replaced the club idol of Patrick Vieira, who was a giant of a man and made the centre defensive midfield role his own whilst at the club.

Mikael Arteta has performed in this role admirably in the last season but in my opinion he would be partnered with a more defensive minded player in partner him in the role. I believe this due to the pact in terms of linking the play between the back four and his midfield partners, he is one of the best in the league at doing so.

However, at times this season he did look a little out of his depth when asked to do the defensive duties of his role but if he could be partnered with someone this could create a great synergy in the team. In terms of ideal players to come in and partner him there are multiple options.

These could include, Geoffrey Kondogbia, who is another Seville player that Wenger has expressed an interest in. At the age of 20 he is young and hungry for success and wants to test himself at the highest level possible and looks increasingly likely to gain a full French cap in the next couple of years.

He can read the game quite well, considering his age, and is strong enough to win challenges in the middle of the park and drive his team forward to get them on the front foot.

Another potential option would be to look at Marouane Fellaini, who had a superb campaign last season and was at times push to play just off the striker.

However, he is just as equipped to play as a holding midfielder due to his size and the fact that he loves a good physical battle. He could be the answer to Arsenal fans prayers for a player to add a bit of steal to the midfield to make them a much more competitive force.

I definitely think this is one area Arsenal will invest in this summer the question is who will they chose to help fill the void left all those years ago by Vieira.

Striker

Finally it seems as though Wenger has set his sights on gaining a top quality striker to add more firepower to his squad.

Last season Olivier Giroud had an impressive debut campaign but with the expected exits of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and potentially Gervinho, there is the need for another attacking talent to be added to the squad.

This is an area where it is expected Wenger will spend a large chunk of his transfer budget, in the hope to gain a 20-goal a season striker to help try and make them title contenders.

In terms of the potential targets it is widely expected that Gonzalo Higuain will be the preferred target, due to the wealth of his experience and success whilst playing for Real Madrid and at the age of 25 still has his best years ahead of him.

He is calm and composed when offered the chance to score and averages a goal about every other game, which is quite an impressive record. He is able to link up the play and can play with his back to goal, he may struggle with the physical aspects and therefore take time to adapt but once he adapts he would be any defenders nightmare.

I fully expect Arsenal to sign a new striker and I do fully expect it to be Higuain - but will his goals be enough to give them a sniff of silverware next season after their eight-year drought without a trophy?

 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal

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