2020 is almost upon us and January is now a crucial period for Arsenal who desperately need two centre backs due to the existing dearth of available options.
The Gunners may have to be extremely clever in the window by securing a long term partner for William Saliba and then by adding a loan player or one nearing the end of their contract.
There are a number of options soon to be available including Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderwerield, Eric Bailly, Stefan Savić, Thiago Silva and Marcos Rojo. Chris Smalling is possibly another option because the 30-year-old isn’t in Manchester United’s plans under Ole Gunner Solskjaer.
In terms of Saliba’s partner, Max Aarons is an exciting name that has won a series of rave reviews with Norwich.
Then there’s Ibrahima Konaté, Mario Hermoso, Armando Izzo, Presnel Kimpembe and Dayot Upamecano, all of whom would be an upgrade on anything currently available to Mikel Arteta.
But probably the most exciting of those nearing the end of their contract is midfielder Nabil Fakir (26). The French midfielder was the subject of transfer speculation that could have seen him move to Liverpool last summer and Arsenal were rumoured to be interested in the player around the same time.
So what would Fekir bring to Arsenal ? Quite a lot actually.
He’s someone who loves to attack. He is blessed with the balance of a gymnast and the speed of a sprinter, the Frenchman can also supply crosses from the left or right flanks.
He has a great left foot, which can strike a ball sweetly, especially from a free kick, thus providing greater scoring opportunities from a dead ball situation. Fekir also loves to dribble and any avenue will do, either past or around or through a defender, it makes absolutely no difference.
He is also someone who can strike from range and isn’t afraid to do so. It may be that Arteta has to completely rethink his squad to accommodate him, but he adds so much that any amount of upheaval would be worth it.
The midfield is probably a secondary priority on the Spaniard’s list of things to do, but the fact remains that the service to the front trio has been extremely poor and someone of Fekir’s ability could be the answer.
It posses question marks over the future of Mesut Ozil and also casts a shadow over the loan deal of Dani Ceballos, who quite frankly hasn’t shown enough to merit an extended stay. Unless Arteta unlocks the potential of his fellow Spaniard, it’s likely he will be returning to Real Madrid.
So how many players are Arsenal likely to bring in during January ? They need five but will probably only look at bringing in two because of Raul Sanllehi’s previous comments on the winter window but that could change if they can get the right price or terms.
Let’s be completely honest, no one expected Nicolas Pepe to arrive in the summer and that deal will prove to be a master stroke at some point in the coming seasons.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Arsenal are already in talks with a target, but that those discussions are only at an early stage.