107 days have passed since the last day of the Premier League season. Since then three of last season’s top four now have different managers; Andy Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936 and Gareth Bale has been repeatedly linked with a world record move to Real Madrid. Despite all this, Arsenal have yet to strengthen their squad at all. Yaya Sanago and Mathieu Flamini have been Arsenal’s only signings of the summer, and they didn’t cost the club a penny as they were free agents. Fans have become increasingly worried at the fact Wenger has not reinforced his squad with some fresh faces.
And the fans growing frustrations intensified after the club were beaten by Aston Villa at The Emirates on the first weekend of the new season. Boo’s serenaded the stadium at full time, with fans also chanting for Wenger to “Spend some money”.
Despite the win in the Champions League Play-Off tie against Fenerbahce, resulting in the team qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, Arsenal’s opening day defeat still looms over the helpless fans who are screaming out to see new players sign for the club.
But which players should Arsenal bring to The Emirates? I take a look at some of the players Arsenal should sign, and why:
Phil Jagielka (Everton) – The England centre back has been a consistent performer for Everton since joining from Sheffield United in 2007. He has established himself as a first team regular for England, and has been first team captain at Everton since 2013. A commanding defender, Jagielka is the kind of leader Arsenal need to strengthen their defence. Gone are the days Arsenal could rely on the robustness and commanding nature of defenders like Tony Adams or Martin Keown and Jagielka could be the man to bring that back to the Arsenal back line. Time after time we have seen Arsenal defenders brought in to the club, who fail to impress and I think Jagielka could be a surprise signing that could not only improve the team but also make the Arsenal fans restore faith in their back four.
Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers) – It has been made publicly aware that Harry Redknapp is looking to offload the Brazilian goalkeeper to ease the wage bill of the club since their relegation from the Premier League. Arsenal already have a decent keeper in Szczęsny but is decent enough for Arsenal? Szczęsny is only 23 years old and generally goalkeepers are known to reach their full potential a lot later than that of other positions. Cesar is 33 years old, number one choice for Brazil and is looking to have a strong season to cement his place for his national team at the World Cup. Experience is key for Arsenal if they are to challenge in competitions this season and if they were to bring in Cesar, I think it would really give a morale boost to the defensive aspects of the team. The back four in the defence are more comfortable when they can rely on their goalkeeper, and in recent years it looks as though the relationship between the defence and goalkeeper has been poor, resulting in petty mistakes and conceding cheap goals. I am not saying that Szczęsny does not have a future at Arsenal; I believe he is a good keeper who can only improve. However, if Arsenal want success and quickly, they can’t expect to rely on such a young goalkeeper. It has been reported Cesar is close to agreeing a deal with Benfica, so Arsenal need to act fast and spend some money!
Nigel De Jong (AC Milan) – For years and years Arsenal have been crying out for a strong and courageous midfielder who isn’t afraid to put himself on the line for the sake of the team. Arsenal have some brilliant midfielders already at the club; Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta to name a few. Yet most of their midfielders are too similar. Arsenal at the moment are relying on very technically skilled players to play in positions which don’t require much skill or flair; positions that you need to be boisterous and aggressive in. Despite signing Flamini earlier this week, I believe Nigel De Jong is a player who would seriously strengthen Arsenal. He was a player who impressed me when at Manchester City and fits the bill perfectly. De Jong is a tireless grafter. He is combative and feisty and that is exactly the player Arsenal need in the holding midfield role to allow the more expressive midfielders more freedom on the pitch. Whether or not this signing is realistic, I believe is down to the board at Arsenal. If they are willing to spend millions on players, a cheeky bid for De Jong should be considered.
Nikica Jelavic (Everton) – This signing could be the answer to Arsenal’s striking problems. There has already been talk of Arsenal pursuing Karim Benzema as their new talisman… but why? Arsenal already have good attacking players. Theo Walcott, Lucas Podolski and Olivier Giroud are not bad players. I believe making a big money signing is needed at Arsenal but not in the wrong areas of the pitch. Jelavic is a great talent. He has been out of form recently, but out of all the players mentioned above this is the player I have seen the most of. His time at Rangers was short and sweet. 36 goals in 55 appearances which helped Rangers win trophies. Moving to Everton in January 2012; he started off on fire. Eleven goals in half a season for the Croatian shows what he is capable of. It excites me when I think of slotting him in the Arsenal team. The service from Walcott and Santi Carzola would improve Jelavic’s game and he could easily score 20 goals a season with the right service from midfield. This signing would be an unexpected one, but not unrealistic. Everton have enough Strikers at the club to lose Jelavic and if Arsenal put in an acceptable bid I believe Everton would be willing to sell.
At the end of the day, it is up to Arsenal and Wenger to dig deep and pull off some major signings. With the squad they currently have I can’t see them making the Champions League places this year. Arsenal fans want the club to spend the money they have publicly stated is available and that is exactly what is needed.