With the January transfer window edging closer and closer, clubs are no doubt making preparations to ensure that they land their targets with a minimum amount of fuss. One such club is Arsenal who has been experiencing an indifferent season thus far.
Recent reports have linked the Gunners with Mattia Destro, Aymeric Laporte and Clément Grenier. The interest in Laporte is understandable given fragility of the Arsenal backline, Destro could be a justifiable purchase especially if the club offloads Lukas Podolski in January but it’s the reported targeting of Grenier that is perhaps the most perplexing.
Grenier is a fantastically gifted player who is technically proficient and possesses an eye for scoring as well as creating goals.
At 23, he has a long career ahead of him and is worth a reported £12million which is not a prohibitive fee for Arsenal. Any potential deal would be dependent on the French international recovering from a groin injury.
Injury aside Grenier seems like an identikit Arsenal player so what’s the issue? Well, Arsenal already has a fantastically gifted, technically proficient player who possesses an eye for scoring as well as creating goals. A little known German called Mesut Özil who cost the club a cool £42.5million, a rather hefty chunk of change.
The quote on the opening page of Özil’s official website is “why should I subdue the world if I can enchant it?” Unfortunately, for the World Cup winner his life at Arsenal at the moment is far from enchanted. The playmaker is injured, was struggling for form, criticized for his recent performances and that’s not to mention the off-field legal disputehe has had with his father, Mustafa.
Özil’s dip in form seemingly has coincided with his shift to the left hand side of an attacking trio or at times wide left. It’s worth noting that Özil did have an underwhelming World Cup being stationed on the left.
So where does that leave Grenier? If Arsenal play a 4-2-3-1 system then Alexis Sanchez has effectively locked down the right hand slot. Danny Welbeck or Olivier Giroud are the main options for the central striking role, Aaron Ramsey’s goal scoring exploits in midfield has seen him play in a central area whilst two from Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshire and Mathieu Flamini fill in the defensive midfield roles. The only logical place for Grenier seems to be the wide left role, the berth Özil was occupying before injury and where interestingly Andrey Arshavin was stationed when he played for the Gunners before his decline.
Grenier, like Özil best affects a game in central areas even though the Lyon playmaker can operate in wide areas. However, if Wenger sticks to a 4-2-3-1 system then there seems little opportunity for Grenier to play centrally unless the Frenchman decides to drop or shift Aaron Ramsey. At the same time would the Frenchman want to play second fiddle to Özil? Could the pair play together in the same starting 11?
If anything the onus is on Wenger to shake things up tactically in order to lift Arsenal out of their current malaise. If Wenger is intent on bringing new recruits perhaps he should be looking at the central midfield area as well as the defense. Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini do not provide a solid enough platform for the Gunners. Wenger should do all he can to try and secure the signature of Sami Khedira and if he really wants to sign a player from Olympique Lyonnais then he should be looking at Maxime Gonalons.
Can Grenier improve Arsenal? He would certainly strengthen the squad but he doesn’t seem to be the signing that Arsenal desperately need at the moment. It is hard to see how beneficial Grenier joining Arsenal would be for either player and the club. Arsenal’s money is probably better spent elsewhere.
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