Friday, 7 August 2009

Arsenal's Options

A defender?? A midfielder?? A striker??

You couldn't make up your minds could you as the vote ended in a tie between defence and midfield as the areas you think Arsenal need to strengthen first.

But we're going to go with my vote: midfield.

After missing out on Felipe Melo, now of Juventus, Wenger faces a desperate search for a player that can take the midfield by the scruff of the neck, complimenting Cesc Fabregas' attacking abilities and passing range.

Gilberto was that player. Flamini was that player. Last season Arsenal did not have that player.

A measly attempt at playing Nasri as a holding midfield player was disastrous as it became apparent he had no idea on how to fill that role. Denilson too has tried but has proven too lightweight in a position that has become more and more significant in the modern game.

The defensive midfielder, the "Makelele" role, the player who shields the defence, links play between defence and midfield. That's what Arsenal had in Vieira, Gilberto and Flamini. And it is what Arsenal need again.

Names such as Gokhan Inler of Udinese, Vieira of Inter, Blaise Matuidi of St Etienne and Lee Cattermole of Wigan have been linked but no progress has been made. Perhaps the likes of Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho of Sporting Lisbon (who I suggested in my recent post about Liverpool) should be looked at or even Fabregas' Spanish compatriots Raul Garcia and Javi Martinez, of Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao respectively.

Wenger more often than not has something up his sleeve. At the moment he seems more concerned with declaring interest in defenders or attempting to bid for a forward.

However, his priorities should lie in the heart of his midfield, the engine room of the team, where games could be ultimately won and lost.

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