Well that was a bad-news Tuesday.
Firstly it broke that Mohamed Elneny had picked up a long term injury against Fulham. And that news was quickly followed by Thomas Partey being ruled out for around a month having missed the Fulham game.
There had already been much debate over whether we needed to sign another defensive midfielder.
Partey was clearly a world class performer, but seemed to be made of glass since he joined us. Elneny, meanwhile, had long be labelled with the “bit good enough” tag.
I had written a few times about how I was happy with the two. That with Partey, Elneny, Olexsandr Zinchenko, Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga we had plenty of cover as the deepest midfielder.
My though was always that improved competition and a long term replacement for Partey would probably be a deal done next summer.
Now with the news of Elneny and Partey’s injuries, Arsenal need to decide whether to stick or twist?
Like in January, if a primary target isn’t available, how far “down the list” should we go?
This close to the end of the transfer window, we could end up with a Lucas Perez – spending big money on someone the manager doesn’t want, someone that won’t play. And someone whose wage and transfer fee will burden the club for the future.
Without Partey and Elneny, we still have those names above: Xhaka, Zinchenko, Lokonga. Add in Ben White and Ainsley Maitland-Niles and it still feels like we have plenty of options.
Keep the powder dry, then in January go for long term target Danilo (at the end of the Brazilian season) or next summer Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
Granit Xhaka has proven to be a liability when the deepest midfielder. Zinchenko has to cover the equally fragile Kieran Tierney, Lokonga is not a defensive midfielder. Neither is White. And Maitland-Niles need to be allowed to reignite his career elsewhere.
Not buying a striker in January cost us a place in the top 4. The Champions League income would have been enough to cover the additional signing of Gabriel Jesus.
Failing to get in a defensive midfielder could see us slide down the table and out of top 4 contention by the time the World Cup comes. Especially when you look at THAT October.
A list minute deal for a Danilo or Caicedo might now be more pricey. But what the cost if we don’t sign them and collapse over the next few weeks?
Better to die trying than not try at all.
Forget the winger, forget Tielemans. A top class defensive midfielder is now a must.
So what do you think Edu and Arsenal should do? Stick or twist?
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