Arsene Wenger has now faced a third defeat in a row, has a discontented fanbase and, apart from the sensational efforts of Robin van Persie, an underperforming attack.
When he removed the exciting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the ineffective and increasingly culpable Andrey Arshavin, the outpour of dissent from the crowd at Emirates Stadium was of an unprecedented level. It was even seen on the pitch, with captain and goalscorer van Persie openly opposing the change.
The dissatisfaction from the fans was further compounded by another uninspiring display by the Russian, culminating in him poorly defending Antonio Valencia’s driving dribble, which led to Danny Welbeck’s late winner.
Those Arsenal fans in attendance appeared to give their most vocal judgement yet, that Arshavin is no longer wanted at the club. The question then inevitabily comes to who should replace him? Who can replace him? Who do Arsenal fans want to replace him?
GiveMeFootball are here with five names that include the possible, the ideal and the fantasy signing the Gunners could make in the next week or so.
1) Eden Hazard
The Belgian winger has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in the transfer window, but it was Arsene Wenger who was first credited with an interest. Hazard would provide all the things the Gunners boss likes – speed, technique and a decisive nature inside the box. Arsenal reportedly had a bid rejected in the summer for him and impressive displays in the Champions League mean his price has only risen.
Verdict: Possible – Wenger will have to spend uncharacteristically though.
2) Salomon Kalou
Chelsea are reportedly willing to let the Ivory Coast international go if a reasonable offer comes in and Wenger is a known admirer of him. While many criticise the forward as not being good enough for a top club, Kalou has regularly scored and made goals when given opportunities. His strength and power out wide, as well as a knack for scoring important goals, could help relieve some of the pressure on van Persie.
Verdict: Possible – If Arsenal were to offer the cash, Chelsea will likely consider it.
3) Ravel Morrison
The Manchester United 18-year-old is out of contract in the summer and it now appears as though his disciplinary problems have finally gotten too much for Sir Alex Ferguson. The Red Devils boss rates Morrison as one of the most talented players ever to have come through the ranks at Old Trafford. Wenger could be tempted to take a gamble on the young attacker in the hope his off-field problems can be alleviated to allow him to realise his undisputed talent.
Verdict: Unlikely – Personal problems will most likely deter an offer.
4) Mario Gotze
The diminutive German playmaker is not a traditional wide player but has the speed and tactical nous to play anywhere in an attacking formation. The Borussia Dortmund attacker has guile in abundance and can unlock the most stubborn of defences. His style is one of possession recycling and clever passing, but he also has fantastic dribbling ability. Wenger would love to bring him to the Emirates and was another reportedly failed transfer target in the summer.
Verdict: Later – Gotze won’t leave in January and any bid would have to be in the summer and sizeable.
5) Franck Ribery
We always like to have one dream signing and this would certainly be in those terms. Ribery was another Wenger target before he moved to Bayern Munich from Marseille and he is currently in the form of his life. The Frenchman’s dribbling ability, quality crossing and eye for goal mean he would quickly improve the north London side’s first team. Arsenal have been crying out for a senior player out wide who is going to take the game by the scruff of the neck and somebody of Ribery’s ilk could save their season.
Verdict: Improbable – Ribery is unlikely to leave Bayern for anyone anytime soon but Arsenal fans can always dream.
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