Arsenal skipper Mikel Arteta has signed a new one-year contract and the press is suggesting that as a result Arsene Wenger will shelve plans to sign a new defensive midfielder this summer.
Arteta missed much of last season through injury and his return will provide Wenger with a boost going into the new season.
Arteta’s injury allowed Francis Coquelin to emerge as Arsenal’s lynchpin midfielder last season and Santi Cazorla’s switch to a central role, as well as Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky all vying for roles in the engine room, Wenger believes he doesn’t now need a new midfield enforcer.
As a result the Gunners have dropped their interest in Morgan Schneiderlin, who set to join Manchester United, after baulking at his £25 million valuation.
I question whether there is the depth and athletic ability with Coquelin and Arteta to compete with the top teams in England and Europe?
But with the likes of Sami Khedira, Geoffrey Kondogbia, William Carvalho and Morgan Schneiderlin linked to the Emirates in recent months, is Wenger’s decision to persist with the 33-year-old Arteta and the inexperienced Coquelin the right call?
While Coquelin and Arteta will be ok against the average Premier League sides, are they good enough to compete with Chelsea’s or Barcelona’s midfield? I am not convinced that they are and the stats support that.
Both Khedira and Kondogbia have obviously since moved on, to Juventus and Inter respectively, but the clear trend of all the above mentioned players is that they are are dynamic, defensive-minded players, who with the exception of Khedira who was available on a free, are all under the age of 25.
There is no doubting Arteta has been an outstanding midfielder in his time in England, but it could be seen as a risk to place their faith in him as an alternative to Coquelin at this stage of his career. Only time will tell whether Wenger has made the right decision but the fans won’t be too generous with their patience.
What do you think? Should Arsene Wenger still bring in a world class defensive midfielder this summer?