It`s been a hard couple of weeks for Arsenal who have lost contact with the Premier League leaders and need to win against Swansea in order to find their way back to the top 4. Mentally, Wenger’s boys seemed strong but unfortunately that is not enough to win every game. Missing important players or using them after long periods of time spent in the infirmary is tricky to handle. The French boss managed well but was unlucky at times thus losing a series of important points. The defense proves once again to be Arsenal’s most problematic area on the pitch. Mustafi’s absence and the lack of options played a major part in the Gunners loss of ground. While it will be hard to resolve this situation, it is not impossible. The biggest issue will be to find players willing to move to the Emirates and fight their way to the starting eleven. There is little room for anyone to come to North London and be sure of constant game time especially with Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin and Monreal doing such an amazing job together.
There are two defensive options which have emerged these days as reported by Metro:
- Jose Fonte – the 33-year-old center-back had the best year of his career as he managed to win the Euro 2016 with Portugal. He is getting close to retirement and the opportunity to play for a big club is not something he could pass on especially looking at his CV. He did not have a chance to fight for a league title or for the Champions League despite playing at a very high level. Arsenal could represent just that missed opportunity, an opportunity Fonte might be willing to take on even if it means to stay most of the season on the bench. Given his age he would not be a long-term solution meaning that he will most likely be given the option of a one-year contract with the possibility of extending to maybe one more season. Even though he is not the best transfer Arsenal could make, he would still be useful for at least one year or so until Arsenal can grow one of their own or invest time in Holding who looked quite promising at the beginning of the season.
- Ricardo Pereira – this 23-year-old is one promising right-back but unfortunately, Bellerin is better (if not the best on his position). Pereira could serve as a solid back-up for the Spaniard who will not have much competition with Debuchy on his way out. The Portugal international has made Wenger’s possible transfer list also due to his versatility. He is capable of covering the left flank as well, a side which will remain uncovered if Gibbs leaves and as Monreal gets older. The biggest problem might be the price which is around £20million. Wenger will never pay that kind of money for a player as unexperienced as Pereira.
- There is a third transfer target that emerged these days and it refers to 23-year-old Andrea Belotti. Currently with Torino, the striker is the revelation of the season in Serie A and could be Italy’s next big export. Apparently some internet polls even suggest fans would prefer having Belotti at the Emirates over Giroud. The bad news is that he is very, very expensive and will probably end up playing in his home country for either Juventus, Napoli, Roma or Inter.