The 2017/18 Premier League season has felt all too familiar for Arsenal. There have been the good moments – such as the North London derby win over Tottenham – and then there has been disappointments, the defeat to Watford the stand-out.
Importantly for the Gunners, however, they are firmly in the race for a place in the top four. Securing Champions League football must remain the Gunners’ No.1 priority, especially given the contract situation of their two stars.
Alexis Sánchez looks set to leave no matter what. The Chilean has turned down several offers for the Gunners and when his contract ends in the summer he will walk away for nothing, probably to PSG but potentially to Manchester City.
Mesut Özil’s future is also uncertain. The German is a Manchester United transfer target and his contract also expires in the summer. However, the Gunners’ No.10 appears more willing to stay at the Emirates than Sánchez, but only if playing in Europe’s premier club competition is on the table.
If both were to leave, though, having Champions League football on offer for potential signings is important. Arsenal can’t afford another year in the Europa League and it’s why the January transfer window could prove important for Arséne Wenger.
He needs to sign, and sign well. So in order to get a handle on what Gunners fans are thinking ahead of the transfer window opening on January 1, we canvassed the opinion of James McNicholas of Gunnerblog.
Which areas do Arsenal need to strengthen in January and why?
Central midfield seems like a perennial issue for Arsenal at the moment. Santi Cazorla’s set-back and Aaron Ramsey’s vulnerable hamstrings are merely exacerbating a long-standing problem. Arsenal have some gifted players in this area of the pitch, but struggle to find coherent balance.
The Gunners also need to start thinking about how they are going to replace star pair Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. Rather than leave all that work to the summer, Arsenal would be well-advised to bring in some flesh blood in January.
Name three realistic transfer targets you would like Arsenal to sign in January and who should they replace in your starting XI?
What is your number one fear for the January window?
The nightmare is that the Manchester clubs come in for Alexis and Özil, and Arsenal opt to sell without adequate replacements.
Without those two, it’s difficult to see the Gunners getting back into the Champions League.
What would your dream January transfer window look like?
It’d be great to see Arsenal push on with a deal for Lemar. They were on the verge of signing him last summer, and if he really is the man they’ve identified to lead a new generation of Arsenal talent, then that deal should still be viable.
The sticking point may be convincing Monaco to sell half-way through the season.