January could be huge for Arsenal.
With nobody really putting forward a compelling claim to be that 4th best side in the league, Champions League qualification could well be up for grabs. West Ham, Arsenal, United, and Spurs all seem the most likely candidates right now.
Arsenal started this season very poorly, however have since steadied the ship and until Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool, had gone on a 10 game unbeaten run.
Arsenal spent significantly in the summer and it is clear that the new philosophy is to sign young players who can improve the team now but will also help the team for a number of years to come. However, it is important that we do not focus so much on the future at risk of overlooking the present.
The big flaw with Arsenal right now is a lack of goals. It has often been a criticism of Mikel Arteta’s era at Arsenal that we just do not score enough. I finally believe we are in a position where we defend well even in a back four, we control possession well and can largely speaking play out from the back well. I just think we have become a bit too predictable in the final third.
Saka and Smith Rowe have each had some moments of magic this season, especially when linking up with Lacazette, but I think it is about time we conclude that perhaps Aubameyang and Pepe have run their course at Arsenal and do not suit what Arteta is trying to do.
Arteta wants to control games, pin a team back and break them down in stages. What Aubameyang and Pepe have shown throughout their careers is that they thrive in a system that creates space in behind. Right now, Pepe is nowhere near the starting 11 as he simply cannot match what Saka consistently gives. Meanwhile, Aubameyang is being forced into a lineup which effectively makes us play a 4-4-2 and is adversely affecting how we use some of our other talents. We need to move on and I know the perfect guy to replace them with in January.
Raheem Sterling has fallen down the pecking order at Manchester City and has really struggled for games recently, despite his great performances at the Euros in the summer. It is thought that a move away from the Etihad could be on the cards in January with Arsenal and Barcelona the seemingly most likely destinations.
Sterling is 26 and therefore not a super young talent. However, the other side to that coin is that he is super experienced and still has arguably not yet reached would most consider a player’s prime. We are crying out for an effective left winger who can add goals and a final third quality that we seem to otherwise be missing. Despite a slightly quiet 2020/21 season, Sterling’s goals and assist record for Manchester City cannot be questioned. He is a great one-on-one dribbler, insanely fast, a tidy finisher and has some of the best movement in the Premier League. He would suit us down to the ground.
Left-wing, right-wing or as a striker, Sterling would also bring some impressive versatility to our attack.
So far, there is a suspected interest from Arsenal though nothing concrete from any reliable sources. The Sun have reported that Arsenal may be favourites to sign him as Barcelona steady their interest, whilst Metro claim that he could be available for as little as £45 million.
That would be such a good deal; it keeps him in the Premier League, he gets to rediscover his relationship with Arteta who was a huge part in making him the player he is today and I’m sure Arsenal would be offering some serious wages in order to convince him. I see it as the perfect move for everyone involved. Imagine an attack with Sterling, Smith Rowe, Saka and Odegaard all charging forward with the experience and hold up play of Lacazette as a sole striker (where he belongs) to bring it all together.
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