Forget Toney and Luiz…Arsenal have urgent transfer need Arteta must prioritise

Arsenal have to prioritise signing a defender in the upcoming January transfer window.

Ahead of the winter market opening, Arsenal have been linked with a number of players. The majority of these mooted targets have been strikers or midfielders.

It is easy to why this has been the case. Arsenal lack top class options who can lead the line. Gabriel Jesus is an excellent player, but is not the most prolific goalscorer and is injury prone. There are doubts over whether Eddie Nketiah has the quality to fire the Gunners to a Premier League title should he be required to lead the line for an extended spell.

The likes of Kai Havertz, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard can all play up front if needed, but are all preferred by Mikel Arteta in other parts of the pitch. As such, Arsenal have been heavily linked with Brentford target man Ivan Toney. Sporting director Edu is thought to have held talks with Napoli over the prospect of striking a deal for Victor Osimhen. Meanwhile, Brighton sensation Evan Ferguson is also said to be on the north London club’s shortlist.

Equally, Arsenal’s midfield contingent is due an overhaul. Thomas Partey’s fitness issues mean he can no longer be relied upon. Jorginho has his limitations as a player, and Mohamed Elneny is not of the required standard at this stage in his career. As such, Aston Villa ace Douglas Luiz has been described as Arteta’s “dream” signing.

However, the need to add fresh blood at the back is now too pressing to be ignored.

Why Arsenal desperately need defensive reinforcements in January

Takehiro Tomiyasu is now set for another spell on the sidelines, as confirmed by the manager recently. Summer signing Jurrien Timber will likely not feature for the club against this season having suffered a serious injury on the opening day of the Premier League campaign.

This leaves the Gunners particularly light in the full-back areas and overly reliant on Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko remaining available for an extended period. This is particularly concerning in the case of the latter player, as the Ukrainian has had a number of fitness issues in his time at the club.

As things stand, Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba, Jakub Kiwior, White, and Zinchenko are the only fit senior defenders at the club heading into the busiest period of the season. That isn’t counting Cedric Soares of course, who Arteta clearly has no faith in whatsoever.

Arsenal learned the hard way last season what happens when their defensive strength in depth is stretched to breaking point. Their title push fell apart when Saliba picked up an injury towards the end of the campaign. This lesson must be learned. In light of the setbacks they have suffered in that part of the pitch already, action must be taken in January.

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