Arsenal

Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory

If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
FootballPremier League
Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory
Adrian Clarke
Published: 13:42, 24 Dec 2023Updated: 14:13, 24 Dec 2023

Share
If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Advertisement

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Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
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Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier League
6
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

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Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
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Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Is Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

READ MORE ON ARSENAL

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Frank Warren as promoter makes cheeky Arsenal suggestion

From Premier League star to Mexican marksman – Arsenal’s January striker targets assessed
Declan Rice has been a colossus, but outside of him and Jorginho the Gunners are light. With Arsenal’s central defender options shrunk by injuries to Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu too, Rice could be needed as an emergency centre back at some point, so more depth in midfield is required.

Arteta would also love the option of using Rice as a box-to-box man in certain games, so a classy sitting midfielder would be ideal.

I’m a fan of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. I think he can make the step up without fuss, and as Arteta has discovered with Rice, Trossard and White, paying a premium for Premier League experience is usually worth it.

The current mood music suggests Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their first-choice target though, and definitely I’m not against it.

He’s 24 (the perfect age) and stylistically he’s been likened to a rather useful compatriot that goes by the name of Rodri. With Champions League experience also under his belt, I wouldn’t say no to bringing that kind of player on board.

 

“A team is only ever as good as their strikers.” That’s how the adage goes, isn’t it?

Well, City have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez; Liverpool have Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah (plus Diogo Jota); and the Gunners have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

It’s an area which can be improved

I unashamedly love Arsenal’s Brazilian number 9. He’s a chaos magnet who unsettles defenders, creating valuable space for others. He’s also incredibly fun to watch.

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
FootballPremier League
Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory
Adrian Clarke
Published: 13:42, 24 Dec 2023Updated: 14:13, 24 Dec 2023

Share
If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Advertisement

Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Blocking ads is a quick way to speed up browsing, lower data usage and save battery on your Android!
expertsonsecurity.com
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier League
6
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

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Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
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Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Is Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

READ MORE ON ARSENAL

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Frank Warren as promoter makes cheeky Arsenal suggestion

From Premier League star to Mexican marksman – Arsenal’s January striker targets assessed
Declan Rice has been a colossus, but outside of him and Jorginho the Gunners are light. With Arsenal’s central defender options shrunk by injuries to Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu too, Rice could be needed as an emergency centre back at some point, so more depth in midfield is required.

Arteta would also love the option of using Rice as a box-to-box man in certain games, so a classy sitting midfielder would be ideal.

I’m a fan of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. I think he can make the step up without fuss, and as Arteta has discovered with Rice, Trossard and White, paying a premium for Premier League experience is usually worth it.

Advertisement

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The current mood music suggests Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their first-choice target though, and definitely I’m not against it.

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Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaign
6
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaignCredit: Getty
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around him
6
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around himCredit: Getty
He’s 24 (the perfect age) and stylistically he’s been likened to a rather useful compatriot that goes by the name of Rodri. With Champions League experience also under his belt, I wouldn’t say no to bringing that kind of player on board.

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Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
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“A team is only ever as good as their strikers.” That’s how the adage goes, isn’t it?

Well, City have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez; Liverpool have Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah (plus Diogo Jota); and the Gunners have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

It’s an area which can be improved.

Jesus only has three Premier League goals this season
6
Jesus only has three Premier League goals this seasonCredit: Getty
I unashamedly love Arsenal’s Brazilian number 9. He’s a chaos magnet who unsettles defenders, creating valuable space for others. He’s also incredibly fun to watch.

Advertisement

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[Pics] 50 Photos of Princess Diana You’ve Never Seen Before
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Will he supply 20-plus goals a season, they ask? No, he might not, but his presence in the team does add great value – and many more goals for others. I’m happy with Jesus.

As for Eddie Nketiah, he is a good front man, but most would agree this is a position Arteta can upgrade.

Trading him for someone who can provide stiffer competition for Jesus, and a different profile, feels like the way forward if Arsenal are going to compete for the very biggest prizes.

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
FootballPremier League
Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory
Adrian Clarke
Published: 13:42, 24 Dec 2023Updated: 14:13, 24 Dec 2023

Share
If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Advertisement

Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Blocking ads is a quick way to speed up browsing, lower data usage and save battery on your Android!
expertsonsecurity.com
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier League
6
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
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Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Is Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

READ MORE ON ARSENAL

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Frank Warren as promoter makes cheeky Arsenal suggestion

From Premier League star to Mexican marksman – Arsenal’s January striker targets assessed
Declan Rice has been a colossus, but outside of him and Jorginho the Gunners are light. With Arsenal’s central defender options shrunk by injuries to Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu too, Rice could be needed as an emergency centre back at some point, so more depth in midfield is required.

Arteta would also love the option of using Rice as a box-to-box man in certain games, so a classy sitting midfielder would be ideal.

I’m a fan of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. I think he can make the step up without fuss, and as Arteta has discovered with Rice, Trossard and White, paying a premium for Premier League experience is usually worth it.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
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The current mood music suggests Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their first-choice target though, and definitely I’m not against it.

MOST READ IN FOOTBALL

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of 25 per cent stake in Manchester United confirmed

Chelsea level undesirable feats as Wolves dump further woes on Pochettino and co

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Chelsea fans joke Sterling has ruined Christmas as he misses glorious three-on-one chance
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaign
6
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaignCredit: Getty
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around him
6
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around himCredit: Getty
He’s 24 (the perfect age) and stylistically he’s been likened to a rather useful compatriot that goes by the name of Rodri. With Champions League experience also under his belt, I wouldn’t say no to bringing that kind of player on board.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
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“A team is only ever as good as their strikers.” That’s how the adage goes, isn’t it?

Well, City have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez; Liverpool have Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah (plus Diogo Jota); and the Gunners have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

It’s an area which can be improved.

Jesus only has three Premier League goals this season
6
Jesus only has three Premier League goals this seasonCredit: Getty
I unashamedly love Arsenal’s Brazilian number 9. He’s a chaos magnet who unsettles defenders, creating valuable space for others. He’s also incredibly fun to watch.

Advertisement

[Pics] 50 Photos of Princess Diana You’ve Never Seen Before
[Pics] 50 Photos of Princess Diana You’ve Never Seen Before
Journalistate
Will he supply 20-plus goals a season, they ask? No, he might not, but his presence in the team does add great value – and many more goals for others. I’m happy with Jesus.

As for Eddie Nketiah, he is a good front man, but most would agree this is a position Arteta can upgrade.

Trading him for someone who can provide stiffer competition for Jesus, and a different profile, feels like the way forward if Arsenal are going to compete for the very biggest prizes.

Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for Arsenal
6
Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for ArsenalCredit: Getty
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Brentford’s Ivan Toney is an option. He’s got a sturdy temperament, talent, and a proven track record. He’d also be fresh and hungry on the back of his long-term ban.

Technically the Bees star would need to sharpen up a bit, but that would come once he works with Arteta and the players around him. Crucially, Toney’s skillset is different to Jesus so he’d provide a great horses-for-courses option.

Dusan Vlahovic, Victor Osihmen and Benjamin Sesko are other names to have been linked, and I could easily argue a case for each of them joining the club.

My issue is that recruiting big name players of this ilk feels more of a summer transfer than something which can be pushed through in January. They could be complicated, big money deals.

Share

Next
Close

EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
FootballPremier League
Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory
Adrian Clarke
Published: 13:42, 24 Dec 2023Updated: 14:13, 24 Dec 2023

Share
If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Advertisement

Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Blocking ads is a quick way to speed up browsing, lower data usage and save battery on your Android!
expertsonsecurity.com
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier League
6
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Prefabricated Homes | Search Ads
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Is Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

READ MORE ON ARSENAL

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Frank Warren as promoter makes cheeky Arsenal suggestion

From Premier League star to Mexican marksman – Arsenal’s January striker targets assessed
Declan Rice has been a colossus, but outside of him and Jorginho the Gunners are light. With Arsenal’s central defender options shrunk by injuries to Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu too, Rice could be needed as an emergency centre back at some point, so more depth in midfield is required.

Arteta would also love the option of using Rice as a box-to-box man in certain games, so a classy sitting midfielder would be ideal.

I’m a fan of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. I think he can make the step up without fuss, and as Arteta has discovered with Rice, Trossard and White, paying a premium for Premier League experience is usually worth it.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Prefabricated Homes | Search Ads
The current mood music suggests Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their first-choice target though, and definitely I’m not against it.

MOST READ IN FOOTBALL

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of 25 per cent stake in Manchester United confirmed

Chelsea level undesirable feats as Wolves dump further woes on Pochettino and co

Walker shares hilarious social media post after Grealish fight at Club World Cup final

Chelsea fans joke Sterling has ruined Christmas as he misses glorious three-on-one chance
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaign
6
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaignCredit: Getty
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around him
6
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around himCredit: Getty
He’s 24 (the perfect age) and stylistically he’s been likened to a rather useful compatriot that goes by the name of Rodri. With Champions League experience also under his belt, I wouldn’t say no to bringing that kind of player on board.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Prefabricated Homes | Search Ads
“A team is only ever as good as their strikers.” That’s how the adage goes, isn’t it?

Well, City have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez; Liverpool have Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah (plus Diogo Jota); and the Gunners have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

It’s an area which can be improved.

Jesus only has three Premier League goals this season
6
Jesus only has three Premier League goals this seasonCredit: Getty
I unashamedly love Arsenal’s Brazilian number 9. He’s a chaos magnet who unsettles defenders, creating valuable space for others. He’s also incredibly fun to watch.

Advertisement

[Pics] 50 Photos of Princess Diana You’ve Never Seen Before
[Pics] 50 Photos of Princess Diana You’ve Never Seen Before
Journalistate
Will he supply 20-plus goals a season, they ask? No, he might not, but his presence in the team does add great value – and many more goals for others. I’m happy with Jesus.

As for Eddie Nketiah, he is a good front man, but most would agree this is a position Arteta can upgrade.

Trading him for someone who can provide stiffer competition for Jesus, and a different profile, feels like the way forward if Arsenal are going to compete for the very biggest prizes.

Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for Arsenal
6
Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for ArsenalCredit: Getty
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Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
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Brentford’s Ivan Toney is an option. He’s got a sturdy temperament, talent, and a proven track record. He’d also be fresh and hungry on the back of his long-term ban.

Technically the Bees star would need to sharpen up a bit, but that would come once he works with Arteta and the players around him. Crucially, Toney’s skillset is different to Jesus so he’d provide a great horses-for-courses option.

Dusan Vlahovic, Victor Osihmen and Benjamin Sesko are other names to have been linked, and I could easily argue a case for each of them joining the club.

My issue is that recruiting big name players of this ilk feels more of a summer transfer than something which can be pushed through in January. They could be complicated, big money deals.

Advertisement

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Here Are The Benefits Of Smart Beds. See Their Price Range.
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Vlahovic decided to join Juventus instead of moving to Arsenal in January 2022
6
Vlahovic decided to join Juventus instead of moving to Arsenal in January 2022Credit: Getty
If they can do it, they should do it.

In tight matches where you need that moment of inspiration to make a breakthrough, it’s top-notch strikers who come up trumps. Adding a new predator to the ranks, someone who’s done it at the highest level before, would level up that deficit in the forward area that Arsenal has in comparison to their title rivals.

To gather funds for any of them, the futures of Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale would come into question.

Football transfers are way more complicated than this, but I do wonder if those three (all England internationals) could be used as possible sweeteners to get a deal done, especially with Brentford. The offer of loans or a possible sale, may be put on the table as a win-win for everyone. Gunners’ supporters love those players, but they all need to be playing first team football.

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EXCLUSIVE COLUMN
FootballPremier League
Declan Rice a colossus and Arsenal top at Christmas but three January signings could ensure Premier League title glory
Adrian Clarke
Published: 13:42, 24 Dec 2023Updated: 14:13, 24 Dec 2023

Share
If Arsenal add a striker and central midfielder to their squad in January, will they kick on and end their 20-year search for a Premier League title?

Who knows? Nothing is ever guaranteed, especially if Manchester City embark on their traditional late winter to spring winning streak.

Advertisement

Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Most Android Users Didn’t Know How To Block Ads (Do It Now!)
Blocking ads is a quick way to speed up browsing, lower data usage and save battery on your Android!
expertsonsecurity.com
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier League
6
Arsenal drew 1-1 with Liverpool to seal top spot at Christmas in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
But, making those two moves would improve the Gunners’ prospects, even if it’s just by a little, so I’m hopeful (rather than optimistic) that Mikel Arteta and Edu get busy in the next few weeks to make it happen.

Funds are tight we’re told, so any transfer manoeuvring will need to be creative. In essence that means two or three players may have to leave for those game changers to come in and make the difference.

While I believe a striker is the biggest ‘need’ for Arsenal, I sense they will target a central midfielder first.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Prefabricated Homes | Search Ads
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
Davies: ‘I hope to be in Inbetweeners film’
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
Chelsea fan Brian Moore on the club’s sad demise and why they could finish fifth
talkSPORT | the world’s biggest sports radio station
Is Thomas Partey going to stay? Is he going to be fit? Those two questions will need answering before a call is made, but if there is sufficient doubt over the Ghanaian’s future at Emirates Stadium then it’s essential a replacement is lined up.

READ MORE ON ARSENAL

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Frank Warren as promoter makes cheeky Arsenal suggestion

From Premier League star to Mexican marksman – Arsenal’s January striker targets assessed
Declan Rice has been a colossus, but outside of him and Jorginho the Gunners are light. With Arsenal’s central defender options shrunk by injuries to Jurrien Timber and Takehiro Tomiyasu too, Rice could be needed as an emergency centre back at some point, so more depth in midfield is required.

Arteta would also love the option of using Rice as a box-to-box man in certain games, so a classy sitting midfielder would be ideal.

I’m a fan of Fulham’s Joao Palhinha. I think he can make the step up without fuss, and as Arteta has discovered with Rice, Trossard and White, paying a premium for Premier League experience is usually worth it.

Advertisement

Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Katsina Unsold Prefabricated Homes Are Almost Being Given Away! (Don’t miss out)
Prefabricated Homes | Search Ads
The current mood music suggests Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is their first-choice target though, and definitely I’m not against it.

MOST READ IN FOOTBALL

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of 25 per cent stake in Manchester United confirmed

Chelsea level undesirable feats as Wolves dump further woes on Pochettino and co

Walker shares hilarious social media post after Grealish fight at Club World Cup final

Chelsea fans joke Sterling has ruined Christmas as he misses glorious three-on-one chance
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaign
6
Arteta still has plenty to do to ensure Arsenal are battling for the title at the end of the campaignCredit: Getty
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around him
6
Rice has been exceptional in his debut season at Arsenal but things could get better with reinforcements around himCredit: Getty
He’s 24 (the perfect age) and stylistically he’s been likened to a rather useful compatriot that goes by the name of Rodri. With Champions League experience also under his belt, I wouldn’t say no to bringing that kind of player on board.

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“A team is only ever as good as their strikers.” That’s how the adage goes, isn’t it?

Well, City have Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez; Liverpool have Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah (plus Diogo Jota); and the Gunners have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah.

It’s an area which can be improved.

Jesus only has three Premier League goals this season
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Jesus only has three Premier League goals this seasonCredit: Getty
I unashamedly love Arsenal’s Brazilian number 9. He’s a chaos magnet who unsettles defenders, creating valuable space for others. He’s also incredibly fun to watch.

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Will he supply 20-plus goals a season, they ask? No, he might not, but his presence in the team does add great value – and many more goals for others. I’m happy with Jesus.

As for Eddie Nketiah, he is a good front man, but most would agree this is a position Arteta can upgrade.

Trading him for someone who can provide stiffer competition for Jesus, and a different profile, feels like the way forward if Arsenal are going to compete for the very biggest prizes.

Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for Arsenal
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Toney will be able to return to football next month is a target for ArsenalCredit: Getty
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Brentford’s Ivan Toney is an option. He’s got a sturdy temperament, talent, and a proven track record. He’d also be fresh and hungry on the back of his long-term ban.

Technically the Bees star would need to sharpen up a bit, but that would come once he works with Arteta and the players around him. Crucially, Toney’s skillset is different to Jesus so he’d provide a great horses-for-courses option.

Dusan Vlahovic, Victor Osihmen and Benjamin Sesko are other names to have been linked, and I could easily argue a case for each of them joining the club.

My issue is that recruiting big name players of this ilk feels more of a summer transfer than something which can be pushed through in January. They could be complicated, big money deals.

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Vlahovic decided to join Juventus instead of moving to Arsenal in January 2022
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Vlahovic decided to join Juventus instead of moving to Arsenal in January 2022Credit: Getty
If they can do it, they should do it.

In tight matches where you need that moment of inspiration to make a breakthrough, it’s top-notch strikers who come up trumps. Adding a new predator to the ranks, someone who’s done it at the highest level before, would level up that deficit in the forward area that Arsenal has in comparison to their title rivals.

To gather funds for any of them, the futures of Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale would come into question.

Football transfers are way more complicated than this, but I do wonder if those three (all England internationals) could be used as possible sweeteners to get a deal done, especially with Brentford. The offer of loans or a possible sale, may be put on the table as a win-win for everyone. Gunners’ supporters love those players, but they all need to be playing first team football.

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If Ramsdale leaves, on loan or permanently, in January, Arsenal will need to add a new second choice keeper. I hoped David Raya’s arrival would spark a competitive duel that took both stoppers to new heights, but in reality, the pressure and scrutiny has just put the pair of them on edge.

Letting Ramsdale go for the second part of the season removes the unwanted spotlight, while giving him the game time he needs to make England’s squad for Euro 2024.

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