With both Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla suffering long-term injuries recently, joining Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere on the treatment table, the centre of Arsenal's midfield is beginning to look rather thin. But what options does Arsene Wenger have?
Aaron Ramsey and the much-maligned Mathieu Flamini are the Gunners' only options at present, and whilst the Welshman has recently thrived in the role and his French partner has looked reasonably solid, Wenger is in need of reinforcements.
There are solutions to the French manager's problems, though.
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It's widely rumoured that Wenger is keen to bring new additions to the Emirates in January, with the likes of William Carvalho, Victor Wanyama, Christoph Kramer and Lars Bender linked in recent weeks.
While on the surface these would be great signings, it is likely prices will be inflated at this point in the season and, due to Wenger's long-term approach, he may opt for a cheaper, younger option or risk sticking with his current crop of injury-plagued midfielders.
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EXPERIMENT WITH CURRENT PLAYERS
There is also the option of utilising other players in a central position, such as Calum Chambers and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Despite the former struggling for form this season, Wenger has reiterated his belief in Chambers' ability to play at the base of midfield.
Chamberlain has also featured in the central role previously, including standout performances against Crystal Palace and AC Milan, but also disastrous displays against Chelsea in the infamous 6-0 defeat.
PROMOTE FROM WITHIN
Giving youth team players a chance is also an option for Wenger. Whilst they might lack experience, there are talented players who, given a chance, may be able to perform as Coquelin did last year.
Isaac Hayden and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are both currently out on loan, but both are impressing for the respective clubs, with the latter receiving more game time.
Wenger gave two other youngsters an opportunity to shine in the 3-0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday in October, and whilst Glen Kamara struggled, Krystian Bielik impressed after coming on from the bench.
There are many impressive young midfielders currently coming through the ranks in north London, with the technically-gifted Ben Sheaf and Tom Darling two of such players.
Despite the current spate of injuries, it would seem Wenger has several options at his disposal; whether it be through the transfer market, experimenting with his current crop of players, or picking from the youth team, there will be a solution.
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