Arsenal’s season has been hugely frustrating in terms of the Premier League and they go into the Boxing Day clash against Bournemouth with nine points separating them from the top four.
Still, the Spaniard won’t have an easy task of renewing the confidence of the existing players and he would surely want to make a few additions to the squad next month to keep everyone on their toes.
Here are two possible players, who could head to the club in January…
William Saliba – Arsenal player on loan at Saint-Etienne: The 18-year-old centre-back was signed by the Gunners from Saint-Etienne during the summer but he was instantly loaned back to the French outfit as part of the agreement. Saliba’s season has not been injury free with a couple of setbacks already but he has impressed from his six starts, where he has managed three clean sheets.
The Frenchman has shown good composure and tackling abilities during his time with Saint-Etienne, but he does have a slight weakness when it comes to dealing with aerial duels. The 18-year-old has recently returned to training after recovering from a broken foot and it remains to be seen whether the Gunners could propose to recall him at the turn of the year.
At present, the club have no option to retain the 18-year-old’s services in January but they could hold negotiations with Saint-Etienne over an additional sum to be paid on top of the transfer fees (staggered payments) in order to integrate him into the first-team squad next month.
Dayot Upamecano – RB Leipzig: The Frenchman’s name popped up during the closing stages of the summer transfer window but the north London side decided against the deal for the central defender as it was ‘too complicated‘ to complete before the transfer deadline.
One of the prime reasons behind the decision was certainly the player’s £70m price tag and the club eventually opted to land David Luiz from Chelsea, which has proved an average piece of business, given the Brazilian has been prone to making defensive mistakes in most games.
Dayot’s contract expires in around 18 months’ time and the Gunners could be tempted to make a renewed approach in January with the probability of negotiating a lower price. Compared to Saliba, Dayot is better equipped to handling aerial balls alongside his tackling and as per SofaScore, he has achieved an 80 percent success rate with his aerial duels this season.
The Gunners have had concerns across the playing field barring the goalkeeper Bernd Leno, but it is unlikely that they would go on a mid-season spending spree to overhaul the squad.
The club have lacked a central defensive duo, which has impressed over a sustained period this season and Arteta may place his focus on that particular department for January.
Arsenal have kept just three clean sheets in the Premier League this term. They have conceded 27 goals from 18 games and that is only the 12th best defensive record in the top-flight.