Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he is looking to bring in two signings this January with only nine days left. He admits it is hard at present but they are working seriously to add the necessary recruits before the window slams shut late on January 31st.
The Gunners are in a bit of strife in the defensive midfield role of late, with Mikel Arteta injured and not exactly the ‘physical beast’ the Gunners require to shield the defence, while Abou Diaby is injury prone and is suffering from fatigue at present after a successful comeback from another lengthy spell on the sidelines. Wenger knows there are shortcomings in the position which has been further dented by the injury of Francis Coquelin. Emmanuel Frimpong is still among the squad however he is hardly an experienced candidate, but he will most likely be thrown in the deep end against West Ham.
Arsenal are also struggling with strikers. Olivier Giroud has produced moments of brilliance but he has yet to instill real confidence in Gooner’s minds and is not the potent centre forward Arsenal need..yet. Theo Walcott is another option but again he is yet to produce consistent performances as he struggles with his back to goal, Gervinho is average while Podolski struggles as a lone striker but would operate more effectively up front with a partner such as Giroud.
These are the two positions that require strengthening this month and Wenger certainly knows this. The Frenchman wants to add two new faces to the squad this month with funds readily available but it is a matter of securing the right, quality players over the next week rather than just buying a new average addition or taking a risk for the sake of it.
He told Arsenal’s official website:
Yes [I still want two signings]. We work very hard on it. It is not the number that counts but the quality.
I don’t give you any names. I don’t come out on rumours because it would put [teams] in a bad position. The player as well.
You have to respect the player has a contract somewhere, is playing and as long as the transfer is not done for anybody it is best not to talk about it because it doesn’t work. He has to continue to play where he is.
Although Wenger dodged naming players with the likes of Yann M’Vila and Yoann Gourcuff linked this month, he did reveal his admiration for the powerful West Ham defensive midfielder Mohamed Diame – who has a reported release clause of £3.5m in his contract – and is a probable target this month. Wenger said:
He has a great presence in the games, I have seen him have a big impact.
Diame has been a solid component of the West Ham midfield that has seen the club begin life well once again in the top flight and has been in flying form recently after a stellar performance against QPR. He would add real steel to the Arsenal midfield, he is brilliant on the ball much like the departed Alex Song, but is defensive minded and an absolute beast. This would allow Mikel Arteta to play the box-to-box role, a position he is far better suited, he could be rotated with the likes of Cazorla or Wilshere when fixtures heat up with Diame and Diaby able to be inter-changed. Now that is depth. At £3.5m he is an absolute steal.
One player that Wenger will not be bringing in is Crystal Palace starlet Wilfied Zaha. Despite admitting that they were tracking the 20-year-old over five days ago stating: “We are looking at him, but at the moment we have not made any bid for him” the Gunners manager has now denied any interest in the player that looks destined for a move to Manchester United when he told a press conference on Tuesday: “If Zaha goes to Man Utd, good luck to him. We were never in for him. Never.”
There are options for defensive midfield with Yann M’Vila and Diame very likely options, however striking options are hardly available on a silver platter. But the Gunners have money, and in some ways perhaps it is good that Wenger’s men are facing the reality of not qualifying for the Champions League as it will force the Frenchman to buy a quality striker this month.