Two months into the season, two months away from the transfer window opening and after a hit and miss start to their campaign the age old question is being posed by Arsenal fans - who are we going to sign? Arsene Wenger is nothing if not consistent in his playing of the transfer market - consistently infuriating for the majority of their supporters.
Wenger managed to get a couple of rare pieces of business sewn up early in the summer and with Kolasinac and Lacazette's signatures it looked as though Arsenal could finally have been putting their money where their mouths were as part of Europe’s elite. But calamity struck again on the final day of the summer window - Alexis Sanchez’s proposed move to Man City falling through had a knock on effect on their £90 million bid for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar.
A case of play it again Arsene when the window opens up again in January? Absolutely. Whether or not Sanchez leaves in January or at the end of the season Arsenal will be losing their Chilean dynamo. Add to that the huge rumours from inside the club that Mesut Ozil is surplus to requirements and it doesn't take much to realise Arsenal are in desperate need of stellar acquisitions and fast.
In the meantime, the Gunners have drifted to fifth in the table and, despite the comfort of a big win over Everton, chances of an elusive title seem distant to say the least. At a price of around 66/1 in the outright win markets, it’s a figure where bonus betting is the only option, as opposed with putting our own money on the line.
Arsenal fans will be praying that big business is done early but it’s not only replacing Sanchez and Ozil that needs to be done, as ever there are huge questions over defensive frailties. With the above in mind and Wenger desperate to return the club to the Champions League Arsenal should be the biggest players in the January window, so here are the top 5 transfer targets for the Gunners:
The one that got away, although this was more down to the failure to get Alexis Sanchez's deal to Manchester City over the line. Will Wenger be coming straight back in for the France international? A lot could depend on whether Monaco qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League - they are currently bottom of their group, (strange as this may seem to Gunners) and failure to do so could see the chance of European silverware at Arsenal, albeit the Europa League.
There is no questioning Lemar’s quality, an attacking midfielder who loves the style that Arsenal sides are renowned for playing with, passing pace and movement. Predominately left footed and with excellent dead ball skills he could be the perfect signing to link with French teammates Lacazette and Giroud. The obvious stumbling block could be that price tag though.
The German international was very close to signing for Arsenal this summer, Wenger was in Paris on the final day of the window and although not widely reported due to the Thomas Lemar bid this was apparently the transfer Wenger wanted the most. Draxler has seen his stock fall somewhat since the arrival of Neymar and Mbappe at PSG and with him posting a picture of an Arsenal shirt with close friend Sead Kolasinac's name and number on, the rumour mill is now in overdrive that he will join his former Schalke teammate at the Emirates.
Draxler is very much the opposite of his languid countryman Ozil, he is an adaptable attacking midfielder, happiest coming in from the left flank but he offers more physically than Ozil and would be suited to the rough and tumble of the Premier League. At around £35million he offers a cheaper alternative than Thomas Lemar.
The PSG central midfielder offers elegant passing and a defensive quality that is still missing in the current Arsenal side. Rabiot is reportedly unhappy with opportunities and contract negotiations at PSG and has publicly stated his desire to play in the Premier League.
Arsenal as always offers a French sanctuary and there have been many comparisons made between Rabiot and Patrick Vieira, tall, strong tackling with an eye to deliver killer passes going forward, Rabiot could offer what Xhaka, Coquelin, Elneny, Abou Diaby, Flamini, Diarra...(to name a few) have failed to deliver since the Arsenal legend departed well over a decade ago.
The eternal struggle for Arsenal; for years every Arsenal fan has heard the rumours that Benzema is unhappy at Real and ready to leave the Bernabeu. Again if you believe the rumours (probably not given the history of this tug of war) this still appears to be the case.
Everyone knows that Benzema offers goals, a strike rate of nearly 1 in 2 at Madrid. Again IF Wenger could manage to pull this, the Rabiot and Lemar deal off he would have a huge contingent of French players who share the Gallic flair we know Wenger loves. It worked once before in the days of Viera, Pires, Wiltord and Henry - could this be the second coming?
Aside from the much talked about replacement of Ozil and Sanchez it could be argued there are bigger fish to fry for Wenger. Many pundits have for years labelled that the real problems for Arsenal stem from their porous defence.
One solution could come from the Serbian international Nikola Maksimovic. The 25 year old has spent the last 4 years in Italy, arguably the home of defensive football, firstly for Torino and since last season Napoli. With 19 caps for the Serbian national side the 6ft 4inch central defender has drawn comparisons in his homeland to former Manchester United defender and compatriot Nemanja Vidic. Maksimovic is unhappy with the lack of first team football at Napoli and Arsenal could well take a chance on him at around the £20 million mark.
Historically Arsene Wenger hasn't been a big player in the January transfer window; very few would disagree that he will have to come out and act swiftly to avoid embarrassment at the end of the season. Imagine the apocalyptic scene with Arsenal fans if the Gunners failed to recruit this window, saw Sanchez and Ozil leaving on free transfers, failure to qualify for Champions League and Spurs above them in the final standings? Surely then Wenger would be the walking dead.