The January transfer window is only a few weeks away and Unai Emery will be keen to add to his current squad to improve his chances of securing a top four finish this season.
The Gunners are currently on a 16-game unbeaten run in all competitions which started on August 25th against West Ham at the Emirates and currently sit fifth in the Premier League table with 24 points from 12 matches so far. Emery will look to continue this impressive feat tomorrow afternoon when his side take on Bournemouth at home.
But with another 26 league games to go and qualification from the group stages of the Europa League already in the bag, Emery may feel the need to strengthen some areas of his side to achieve his goals this season.
But which areas of his squad should he look to improve? Well, here are the three I think needs more attention than others:
This is an area of the side which needs a bit more depth and quality. Nacho Monreal stands out as the first-choice in this position and has done for a few seasons now. However, at the age of 32 and his contract set to expire next summer, Emery surely will be looking for a long-term replacement for the Spaniard. It’s believed Emery want to tie him down to a new deal, but the Gunners boss will probably see his experience more beneficial in the squad than anything else.
Sead Kolasinac is the other natural option in this position, but the former Schalke defender has struggled to compete with Monreal and has picked up a few injuries since joining. He continues to be second best behind the Spaniard which says a lot really.
Granit Xhaka and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have deputised in the full-back role this season but are not accomplished in it and are essentially midfielders.
Going forward, Emery would do well to sign a dynamic left-back who can challenge both Monreal and Kolasinac, and it would also add more depth in this position as well
It goes without saying that this is the department that Arsenal have had problems in since as long as I can remember. Every ex-Arsenal player, media pundit and fan have expressed their concerns about the club’s defence and even Emery has recently admitted that it is the biggest problem he currently faces in his side. Despite having Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding and Laurent Koscielny, cracks still appear, and we look vulnerable to concede goals in every game. Sokratis has impressed since his arrival from Dortmund over the summer, while Holding has done the same and looks a promising player but still lacks experience. However, Laurent Koscielny has yet to feature this season for Emery and it’s unknown when the Frenchman will be available for selection, while Mustafi clearly isn’t the answer to our defensive problems.
Adding another centre-back this January won’t give Emery the quick fix he requires in defence, but it would certainly add much needed depth should any of the current lot pick up an injury and lift the burden off young Holding.
With Welbeck out for possibly the remainder of the season, it will leave Emery short of options upfront, especially in the wider position of the three.
Both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette want to start as the main striker, but Emery must put one or the other out wider to accommodate both, thus leaving one playing out of position as a result. The other flank is usually contested by Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the latter not completely comfortable out wide. These four are usually vying for a starting berth in the side, but only Iwobi is assured out wide, while Mkhitaryan is more of a central attacking midfielder and the other two prefer operating as main strikers. Playing three of the four leaves Emery in a pickle, especially if one or two suffer injuries, so the Spaniard must sign a replacement for Welbeck – even if it’s on a temporary basis.