Arsenal to swoop for Newcastle midfielder in January?
Arsenal have a serious hole in their midfield and money to burn, if Arsene Wenger ever feels like burning it. And if they’re going to make a January signing, players who already play in the Premier League tend to make better ones than guys who need a bit of time to adapt after spending most of their career abroad.
Why it makes sense
Arsenal have needed a player like Sissoko since Mathieu Flamini left for AC Milan back in 2008, and they’ve really needed it since Alex Song went to Barcelona in 2012. The current version of Flamini isn’t very good, and Arsenal would like to avoid starting him in meaningful matches late in the season if they could help it. Sissoko provides an instant upgrade over his countryman, is more athletic than Mikel Arteta and is a better defensive contributor than Abou Diaby, who may or may not actually be a professional footballer. Who knows at this point.
Sissoko also isn’t cup tied in the Champions League, so could contribute in that competition right away. That makes him a more likely signing than a lot of other rumored Arsenal targets that play for smaller Champions League clubs. And while the £16m price tag isn’t tiny, it’s also not ridiculous for a 25-year-old that plays regularly for France and is in good form.
Wenger also isn’t afraid to make moves in January when he feels he needs to. Nacho Monreal and Andrey Arshavin were both January signings.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Arsenal have needed this type of player for six years, but they still haven’t signed one. Why would they start now?
Plus, according to the Mirror, Wenger isn’t going to spend more than £20m this winter. The Gunners need a central defender much more than they need an energetic box-to-box midfielder, though they certainly need both if they realistically want to compete for Champions League and the Premier League.
If Wenger’s only going to make one big January signing, it’s probably going to be a center back. While he has a history of going after players he thinks he needs in January, he never buys two important players in the winter window.
This ticks a lot of credible rumor boxes. It’s a position of need for Arsenal for a player of the right age, at a reasonable price, who’s good enough to play for Arsenal but not a superstar. He’s coming from a club that’s regularly willing to sell stars in January if they’re going to make a lot of money. But because Arsenal needs a defender a bit more than a midfielder, we’re giving this a 5 out of 10 chance.