3 significant deals that will turn Arsenal into title contenders next season
Arsenal might be going through a turmoil phase after missing out on a ‘top four’ finish in the league last season, but their pursuit of a Champions League berth is not ruled out yet. Despite missing out on Thomas Lemar in the summer and failing to convince Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to sign new deals, Arsene Wenger, the Gunners boss, has kept his side relevant in a ‘top four’ battle.
However, they desperately need some recruits this month in order to stay in the fight until the very end of the 2017-18 campaign. The North Londoners have reached the semis of the League Cup competition and also eased past the group stage of Europa League. Yet, the profile of Champions League football is more alluring to the stars these days and Wenger must try to acquire the realistic ones in such a difficult time of the season.
Winter might not be the right time to strike significant transfer deals, but a few are still achievable considering their current status.
Current Club: Juventus
The immensely talented Azzurri international has been left frustrated due to his lack of game time for the Old Lady and the latest comments from the player’s agent has fueled transfer speculations.
“Knowing Juventus, I fear Rugani’s adventure at the Bianconeri has reached its end credits.”
Arsenal were previously linked to Rugani and are in desperate need of a quality centre-back as Laurent Koscielny needs a proper defensive partner. Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are too young to perform persistently week in week out while Shkodran Mustafi has been error-prone.
Per Mertesacker is at the twilight of his career and is set to hang his boots at the end of the current campaign whereas a lack of options has forced Wenger to play left-back Nacho Monreal as a makeshift left centre-back in a ‘back three’ formation. Rugani’s presence will thus be a massive boost for the Gunners and they must pursue a loan move if a fee isn’t agreed on time.
Current Club: Sporting CP
Carvalho was close to departing in the summer and almost completed a surprise move to Premier League side West Ham United. The player, however, opted to stay at Sporting CP despite the clubs agreeing on terms and the decision seems to be a sensible one considering the Hammers’ poor league status. Carvalho is truly underrated despite being one of the best in his position in modern football.
He features regularly for Portugal and played a massive role in their sensational UEFA Europ 2016 title win. Carvalho, a deep-lying playmaker, is calm, composed and protects his defence whenever needed and also carries the ball forward from the midfield to act as a bridge between the defence and the attack.
Granit Xhaka has not been particularly impressive since his move back in the summer of 2016 and the likes of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny have failed to earn a regular slot in the Gunners midfield. Carvalho’s presence will help the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to operate in advanced slots with more ease and confidence which, in turn, will open up more opportunities to find the back of the net.
Current Club: Leicester City
One of the heroes of Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League winning campaign has been asking for a move for quite some time now and despite handing in a transfer request back in the summer, the Algerian failed to find a new suitor despite strong interest from several top sides of Europe.
A move to AS Roma broke down as the two clubs failed to agree on a fee but the winger is expected to depart if the £50m valuation is met. Arsenal were also linked with a move for Mahrez and must try to acquire him this month before someone else buys his services.
He has been linked with a move to Liverpool as well but the news has been ruled out by reliable sources. With the possible departure of both Sanchez and Ozil, Arsenal might start lining up alternatives and an in-form Riyad Mahrez will be a decent pick considering his Premier League experience as well as the quality of highest calibre.