We have argued recently in other postings, notably in “What does Arsenal need to do to challenge for next season?” that a lot of the changes needed at Arsenal involve a change of attitude or better coaching and organisation on the pitch rather than radical surgery in the personnel.
These changes include, among others, first and foremost the need to tighten the defence and the adoption of the 4 5 1 formation.
This system contains three central midfielders two of which may sit in front of the defence when needed. It is therefore particularly appropriate for Arsenal at the moment as it helps protect a young defence which is prone to errors of judgment and lacks positional sense.
So where should Arsene recruit?
An analysis of the current squad’s strengths and weaknesses (Arsenal's transfer targets)makes us believe that new signings are needed in only two specific areas, at most.
The youngsters have shown tremendous potential and it would be silly to throw all that out of the window by splashing out on the transfer market.
Because what a young player needs most is room to grow. Look how Fabregas has blossomed since Vieira left. Remember how Ashley Cole became the best left back in the premiership after Silvinho left. And how young Clichy has evolved since Cole himself departed. Or Eboue even who excelled last year in the absence of Lauren.
So you see where we are coming from. If a new player will be recruited he should be at a position where the team is really suffering and where the young starlet coming up is not yet that experienced or ready to assume it.
The most obvious to us is in the wide midfield position. This is because Reyes will probably not be at Arsenal next season, Hleb has worryingly unmasked his deficiencies, Freddie has lost his pace and Walcott is still inexperienced.
The recruitment of another wide midfielder assumes additional importance if the 4 5 1 formation is adopted as the two wide midfielders balance the team by giving it width.
That takes care of one transfer requirement. But what about another forward? This has been an area where quite evidently, the team fell really short of expectations.
There are currently four players for, at most, two positions up front depending on the system that may be adopted. They are Henry, Van Persie, Adebayor and now Bentdner. We are of course assuming that Baptista and Aliadere will be released.
Three experienced players and a young starlet may not prove to be enough. Another proven goal scorer needs to be recruited to create enough of a cover which was desperately needed this season and also competition between players.
However an interesting option that is available to Wenger is to recruit someone who can play both positions; as a forward and as a wide midfielder!
Like for example Van Persie who has been used by Arsenal and Holland as a wide player in a 4 3 3 come 4 5 1 formation or Ljumberg when he was similarly deployed in some of the Champions league games. Dare we say it Anelka fits this description (Anelka for Arsenal).
Taking this route may appeal to Wenger’s policy of preserving Arsenal’s financial resources and allowing his young prodigies room to grow!