Arsenal have been linked with moves for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin this morning, which could solidify Arsene Wenger’s squad over the second half of the season.
Arsenal are currently nine points behind league leaders Chelsea, which is a gap that Arsene Wenger will believe his team can claw back (bear in mind Manchester United blew an eight point lead with six games to go in 2011/2012) and while both of the players mentioned above are defensive, they can help in the process.
Smalling coming in at centre back certainly won’t inspire many Arsenal fans but it stops Wenger from having to use players out of position when he’s forced to endure injuries and suspensions.
Nacho Monreal playing next to Per Mertesacker in the middle of the defence is a stop-gap measure and nothing more. In short, Smalling is a better option than a high quality left-back adapting to a different position.
Schneiderlin would be a superb signing with numerous benefits but whether Arsenal can pull off a deal is doubtful.
Spurs tried to sign him from the Saints repeatedly last summer but got nowhere and while Arsenal could offer him Champions League football over the second half of the season, they’re likely to face the same obstacles.
Where Schneiderlin would make the difference is in preventing situations similar to what happened against Anderlecht when Arsenal were 3-0 up.
Schneiderlin has the ability to play defensively in midfield and he could have slotted next to another defensive player like Mathieu Flamini, helping Arsenal to shut up shop in big games when they are well on top.
Look at how Jose Mourinho closes out games with two midfielders protecting his defence when the Blues go ahead in big matches.
Schneiderlin is also a good player to have in Arsenal’s midfield because he can switch it up and play aggressively as his three goals already this season show.
In short, these are two deals that would ultimately give Arsenal a better chance of winning the title but they are two deals, which would be difficult to pull off and one may not be particularly well received by the club’s supporters.