Arsenal lost four big-name midfielders at the end of last season, and just over six months on there appears to be little sign that things are improving for them in that department.
Granit Xhaka was signed in the summer, following Mohamed Elneny’s arrival in January earlier that year, but midway through this season it looks increasingly clear that if the Gunners want to get back in this title race they’ll need to spend some money before the end of the transfer window.
Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky may have been past their peaks when they left, and Jack Wilshere’s loan made sense given his fitness and the apparent competition for places ahead of him, but this current crop aren’t really doing a good enough job at the moment.
Xhaka’s signing was met with plenty of optimism, but his discipline has been a problem alongside some slightly underwhelming performances in general, while Elneny is a big miss after jetting off for the Africa Cup of Nations, and, of course, Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee through injury.
There’s not long left to get someone in, but here’s a look at five names who could be available and who’d immediately solve Arsenal’s issues in the middle of the park…
Linked with Arsenal several times during his Sevilla days, Grzegorz Krychowiak impressed in La Liga before moving to Paris Saint-Germain this season. The Poland international has since struggled in France and is no longer a regular under Unai Emery.
Recent reports suggest Krychowiak could be available this winter, in which case Arsenal would be well-advised to swoop for him as a fine all-rounder to provide something of an upgrade on Xhaka and co., whilst potentially providing the ideal partner for Cazorla when he comes back.
A superb all-action midfielder impressing with Porto at the moment, Danilo Pereira is another name mentioned alongside Arsenal in recent transfer speculation.
The 25-year-old won Euro 2016 with Portugal in the summer and has all the ingredients to succeed in the Premier League and Champions League, so Gooners should hope that the rumours turn into something more concrete in the coming days.
Considered one of the best players in Serie A during his time with AS Roma, Miralem Pjanic hasn’t quite lived up to expectations since joining Juventus in the summer, though he has big boots to fill after Paul Pogba’s departure to Manchester United.
The Bosnia international’s future in Turin is already thought to be in doubt, with Arsenal recently linked with a move for a player who would be an ideal like-for-like replacement for Cazorla given his passing ability and dead-ball prowess.