There’s no debating the fact that Arsenal are in need of an additional midfielder, as well as a central defender and perhaps a center forward with Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo both being loaned out, but there are questions of whether or not Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko would be the right signing for manager Arsene Wenger.
Sissoko, a 25-year-old France international, recently claimed his affection for the north London club in an interview with Telefoot. The Frenchman stated, “If anything should happen, it will. I hope I’ll leave for a bigger club one day. England is my priority. If Arsene Wenger calls, I’ll have a man-to-man discussion with him and then we’ll see. Arsenal has always been the club of my heart.”
While Sissoko did not mince his words when discussing the Gunners, Wenger and the rest of the Arsenal brass have to make a decision on whether or not the 25-year-old would be the right player to man the middle of the pitch for the Gunners.
The France international is certainly a talented player; however, due to Arsenal’s need for an imposing defensive-minded midfielder to enforce the space in front of the back four, Sissoko does not appear to be a perfect fit for the Gunners.
Sissoko definitely has plenty of strength and passing abilities, but he does enjoy going forward quite a bit and Arsenal currently has an ample amount of midfielders that fill that role for the squad at the moment.
Wenger likes to use Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the central midfield, pairing one of the Brits alongside a natural defensive midfielder. The Gunners have deployed Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Francis Coquelin in the defensive midfield position so far this season.
Arteta and Flamini are not terrible players, but neither midfielder is at the point in their respective careers to boss the middle of the pitch (Arteta is 32 and Flamini is 30) and both should ideally be used as squad players in a team such as Arsenal.
23-year-old defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin returned from loan at Charlton Athletic in December and has put in a few very impressive performances over the last month for the Gunners. But with all three defensive midfielders out of contract at the end of the season, it seems highly unlikely that the trio of Arteta, Coquelin, and Flamini will collectively be brought back next season (there have been rumors that Arteta has already signed a one-year deal, but this has not been confirmed by the club).
Nevertheless, although Coquelin is still relatively young and has shown defensive abilities on the pitch over the last four matches, Arsenal needs to bring in a top defensive midfielder to help solidify this team. The Gunners have allowed the most goals out of any club in the top five of the Premier League table and a world-class defensive midfielder would significantly help their issues on the defensive end.
While Sissoko does not appear to be that type of player, the Gunners would do well to sign either Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho or Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin during the January transfer period.
Looking ahead, if Arsenal was to acquire either Carvalho or Schneiderlin, the Gunners should hold on to Coquelin as a backup to either one of the new signings, perhaps re-sign Arteta to a short term contract, and then let Flamini walk at the end of the season.
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