As if Sunday evening wasn’t depressing enough in it’s own right as we ‘look forward’ to another working week, reports have emerged from France suggesting the knee injury sustained by Francis Coquelin during yesterday’s defeat at West Brom will keep him side-lined for 3 months.
Arsenal fans the world over will be losing their sh*t right now and understandably so, because not only is Coquelin crucial to our side, but we’re approaching the busiest period of the season and as I and many others have been saying since pre-season, not signing another quality defensive midfielder last summer was a massive gamble by the boss.
Well, if tonight’s reports prove true, I’m afraid just like last season when we suffered in the opening months of the campaign having failed to sign another central defender, we’ll only have ourselves to blame. We do have Mathieu Flamini of course for the immediate future, so the Frenchman will now have to up his game and form an understanding with Santi Cazorla until Coquelin returns, or we sign another defensive midfielder.
The alternative would be to ask another player, like Aaron Ramsey for instance, to adapt his game and focus on the type of chasing and intercepting Coquelin’s so good at, or perhaps even see how Calum Chambers fares in front of the defence given that Arsene Wenger has previously suggested he could play there.
That said, the only time I can remember Chambers playing for us in midfield was in the defeat at Southampton a year ago, so if that game is any kind of gauge, we’re better off using that as a very last resort.
In terms of who may be available to buy in January, obviously I have absolutely no clue but I’d suggest even if players aren’t being openly touted by clubs, we ‘make’ them available by bidding high enough.
If, for instance, Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak has a release clause of say £20m, as reported last summer, then trigger it. Just don’t say nobody good enough was available or we can’t resort to the transfer market every time we sustain an injury.
Of course we can’t, or given our rate of accumulating knocks, we’d have a squad of about 450 players. But with Mikel Arteta and Flamini surely being shown the door at the end of the season, we have a definite need to buy in the defensive midfield area. So do it January rather than July.
Bid for William Carvalho. Or Victor Wanyama. Or whoever the hell is deemed of the required level to play for us, but just get it done. For the record, I haven’t seen enough of Krychowiak, Carvalho or even Wanyama, to have a definitive opinion on their quality or suitability to our side, but the management must already have a good idea of who they’d like and I’d trust their judgement.
Before this news broke this evening, I was planning to go over yesterday’s game again and perhaps take a look at some of the post-match reaction but I think that game is best off consigned to history.
We play Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday so Arsene will have his pre-match press conference tomorrow and we should get more information on Coquelin’s injury then. But for now, we’re forced to envisage the foreseeable future without one of our most important players. And it’s worrying.
See you next week.