It has become common to criticize Arsenal’s seasons, filled with puns aplenty. Whether it be a traditional mid-season collapse or a civil war within the fan base regarding Arsene Wenger's future, at some point during a season, Arsenal get criticised and scrutinised.
Indeed, Arsenal have fallen short again, and the wagging finger has been thrust straight at good ol’ Wenger. Cries for new signings ignored, mismanagement of injuries and the lack of drive and heart. Yes, there is much to address for the Professor.
Let’s not forget, however, that “Le Prof” did manage the 2004 'Invincibles'. They were fast, fierce and furious. It’s easy to remember Thierry Henry’s goalscoring exploits or Dennis Bergkamp’s magical touch, but there was also Robert Pires’ genius wide-midfield play, Freddie Ljungberg’s versatility, Gilberto Silva ‘the invisible wall,’ Ashley Cole’s speed, Kolo Toure in his prime, Sol Campbell the reliable, Lauren’s awareness and Jens Lehmann’s antics.
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Before Gooners and non-Gooners jump at this article in disbelief, because one name, one dramatically important name, was not mentioned, there was a reason for it.
Anybody who knows anything about football will never, ever, ignore the great leader Patrick Vieira. Bold, robust, courageous, and determined, Vieira was at the centre of it all, and this is exactly what Arsenal are missing?
We can argue the need for a top notch striker to actually finish off the heaps of chances eagle-eye Mesut Ozil creates. Alvaro Morata perhaps?
Beyond that, however, the Gunners are missing something Vieira-esque in midfield. Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and the new signing Granit Xhaka. Put them altogether, and they still don’t make half a Vieira.
But this man surely comes close to half a Vieira. Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan skipper and a bullish leader.
He’s the sort of player that would win midfield battles and get the ball out of his own half. He’s the sort of player that can be a threat from corners.
Under Wenger’s tutelage, he’s the sort of player that can flourish and become something truly great. He is, after all, just about to turn 25. Pair him up with Xhaka, and Arsenal surely have the class in midfield to put them right up there as serious title contenders.
With the emerging Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez rediscovering his form, Özil flying high and the solid Petr Cech, the incoming Xhaka, a couple of meaty central defenders and maybe a Morata upfront, Wanyama may just be the thing to get Arsenal ticking again.
What do Arsenal need to sign next following the arrival of Granit Xhaka? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!