Arsenal look set for a busy January transfer window; something which has virtually never been said under Arsène Wenger. However, their squad suffers from a lack of depth, and in some areas, quality.
Wenger has said he plans to sign a defender, and also hinted that a top priority may be a midfielder. Many players linked - but are any of them the answer?
The Arsenal manager has a reported £20 million to spend in January, and it seems he's already been active, with speculation regarding a number of notable players.
However, plenty of the rumours flying around on the grapevine don't seem to make any sense. After all, it seems that Arsenal need to sign both a tenacious defensive midfielder and a reliable centre-back.
But what of the rumours? Would any of the players linked actually suit Arsenal?
Moussa Sissoko: Too attack-minded.
William Carvalho: Overpriced.
Morgan Schneiderlin and Grzegorz Krychowiak: Not leaving their respective clubs.
Winston Reid: Not good enough and no experience of European football.
Chris Smalling: Not good enough, and United unlikely to sell.
Mats Hummels: Overpriced.
Virgil Van Dijk: Inexperienced, and too attack-minded.
So, who are the cheap, but sufficient, transfer options?
- Ezequiel Garay
Having only joined Zenit St. Petersburg in the summer, times are tough in Russia. The rouble is rapidly becoming worth less and less, and Zenit are looking to offload many players in January. So this means that players like Axel Witsel, Hulk and Ezequiel Garay could be sold for low fees.
So, Arsenal could have the chance of signing one of the best centre backs in the world for a low sum. Zenit would find it near-impossible to reject a bid of around £13m. However, in order to save money to spend on areas, like defensive midfield, a loan would be the best option.
Arsenal should try to sign Garay on loan for the rest of the season, with view to make the move permanent in the summer, when Arsenal will have more money.
- Victor Wanyama
This man ticks all the boxes for the type of player Arsenal need in their midfield. He's incredibly strong in the tackle, but on top of that he has fine dribbling skills, and can pass the ball well. And, as he showed with a 40 yard strike against Hull, he can hit the ball well.
This man also has great experience: he has won two SPL titles and one Scottish Cup, and was outstanding as Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League. He also has Premier League experience.
Finally; he's only 23. He could become a great player under the influence of a manager like Arsène Wenger. Southampton could cope without him; they have one of the best midfielders in the league in Morgan Schneiderlin, who offers the same playing style as Wanyama.
A bid of around £10m could dislodge him, and maybe the offer of signing a young player on loan, such as Serge Gnabry or Joel Campbell, would affirm that transfer fee.
So, these would be two excellent signings, which would surely assure Arsenal a top four position, and only about £10-12m need be spent. Then in the summer, when more money can be outlaid, Arsenal can fill in any gaps that emerge.