In seasons passed when the Gunners were leaking goals all over the place, they could have used a player like Nemanja Vidic but, despite the defeat on Sunday, when Per Mertesacker and Laurent Kosicelny play together they tend to win games and keep clean sheets. Plus, Vidic’s prowess in the United backline seems to have declined over the last couple of years.
The Red Devils captain used to be regarded as probably the best centre back in the Premier League but nowadays he’s probably not even the best centre-back at United – Phil Jones will likely be in the future and given that Arsene Wenger is still reliant on just three genuine central defenders the English youngster wouldn’t be a bad shout.
Arsenal were linked all summer long with Marouane Fellaini who instead signed for United for £28.5 million but with the return of Mathieu Flamini and an already solid option in defensive midfield of Mikel Arteta I think Wenger was wise to let the Belgian go elsewhere - especially for that kind of price-tag which, so far, he has failed to justify.
The obvious answer is Robin van Persie – if Arsenal had their current squad and the Dutchman had remained they would be winning trophies all over the place. At the moment, all they had to throw on alongside Olivier Giroud was Nicklas Bendtner and nobody really needs to see that. However, it would take a heart of stone to accept that Van Persie is the player they need.
The Gunners seemed to be remotely interested in Wayne Rooney too this summer but with the arrival of Mesut Ozil, and the England number 10’s conversion into more of a playmaker over the last season, there isn’t really as much of a requirement for Rooney.
Perhaps a better option would be Javier Hernandez whom the Gunners have been linked with ahead of the January transfer window. The Mexican striker is five years Van Persie’s junior and is certainly a very classy forward in that Wenger-style who could offer a different option to Giroud who was clearly a little fatigued last weekend.
However, I think in the long-run Arsenal will most envy Adnan Januzaj – back when Cristiano Ronaldo signed for United, Arsenal were ‘very close’ to signing him at the Emirates as Wenger later revealed and I think the youngster will be another one of those players who the French boss will feel he missed out on.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald