Francis Coquelin.

Five signings Arsenal can make to replace Francis Coquelin

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For most people, this is the time of year people to get festive, but for Arsenal fans it is almost always a time to be fearful.

Yes, the annual November crash has well and truly started in north London, including a familiar defeat to a Tony Pulis rugby team and a dozen senior injuries. 

Despite the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missing, no greater collective sigh has been heard than the one created for Francis Coquelin.


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The combative French midfielder has emerged as a key player for Arsene Wenger in the last 12 months which, of course, means he was bound to succumb to some form of serious injury at some point.

Wenger confirmed he is out for at least two months with a knee injury earlier today, but the Gunners boss left plenty of scope for further bad news, insisting it could get much, much worse for once the scan results are in.

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Naturally, attention is now turning to the transfer window as, unsurprisingly, Wenger failed to sign adequate cover for the 24-year-old in the summer. Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are unlikely to help Arsenal sustain a title challenge so we've piled together a list of five player Wenger could sign in January.

Adrien Rabiot | PSG

Arsenal have long been linked with a move for this 20-year-old prospect and, for a time at least, he seemed keen to move. Laurent Blanc wasn't giving him the time his talent deserved and Wenger was one man able to offer it to him.

Rabiot is more like an Aaron Ramsey than a Coquelin, but has still showed an ability to protect his back four. His game is based around a sensational appetite to cover every blade of grass and certainly wouldn't be spotted failing to track back.

Potential transfer price: £15-20million

Best fit: 2/5

Likelihood: 2/5

Victor Wanyama | Southampton

There was once a midfielder at Southampton, available for around £25million, who would have been perfect for Arsenal. He was even French. I wonder what happened to him. Ah well, Victor Wanyama will do for now.

The Kenyan has certainly got the physical frame to compete with the very largest of opponents and has suggested he would be open to joining Arsenal in the past.

Southampton would not be easy to negotiate with, but they have also shown a willingness to sell if the price is right. He's the only one on this list with Premier League experience.

Southampton v A.F.C. Bournemouth - Premier League

Potential transfer price: £20-25million

Best fit: 3/5

Likelihood: 3/5

Youri Tielemans | Anderlecht

If you are looking for the next Belgian starlet to emerge then look no further. Yes, their production line of incredible young talents has shown no signs of abating with Youri Tielemans set to become the latest big name to come out of the emerging football powerhouse.

Just 18-years-old, Arsenal fans may cringe at the thought of another hot prospect, but Tielemans is anything but. He already has over 50 games to his name for Anderlecht and has even impressed in the Champions League.

Soccerex valued him at €19.3million in June, placing him as the 12th most valuable Under-21 star on their Top 20 list. We can assure you he will cost a lot more than that.

Potential transfer price: £25-30million

Best fit: 3/5

Likelihood: 2/5

Mario Suarez | Fiorentina

Mario Suarez was highly thought of before his summer move to Fiorentina, but the Spaniard has failed to break into the first-team picture at the Serie A club and could be available in January.

He may not have a big reputation, but at 28-years-old, Suarez certainly has experience on his side. It might still be a sore subject at the Emirates, but Wenger might even be able to nab him on a six-month loan deal. 

With Coquelin looking likely to return at some point in late winter, it could be the perfect solution.

Potential transfer price: Loan deal

Best fit: 4/5

Likelihood: 3/5

William Carvalho | Sporting Lisbon

It wouldn't be a list of potential Arsenal transfer targets without William Carvalho, let alone a list dedicated to defensive midfielders. Ask us in 2013 whether the Portugal international would still be plying his trade in the Primeira Liga and you would have been labelled a crazy fool.

But in Portugal he remains, ready for one of Europe's big boys to snap him up. Arsenal have always been in the mix when Carvalho's name is mentioned and the player himself revealed an affection towards the Gunners. It seems like a match made in heaven, but will Wenger fork out the reported £20m+ to sign him? Probably not.

Potential transfer price: £20m-£25m

Best fit: 4/5

Likelihood: 4/5

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