Reina, Cissokho and Wanyama: How Wenger Should Spend £70m Transfer Kitty
By Nick Howson | February 18, 2013 9:15 PM EST
During Arsene Wenger's 16-and-a-half-year reign at Arsenal, defeats to lower league opposition have come like buses after Saturday's FA Cup fifth round loss to Blackburn Rovers followed a penalty shoot-out failed against Bradford City in the League Cup with the club's trophy drought all but set to extend into a ninth year.
The top four remains well within reach; a four point deficit to rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but the knives are firmly out for Wenger and the board, who continue to saturate supporters of money while seemingly investing only a fraction of the funds available on the playing squad.
If reports on Monday morning are to be believed then Wenger will be handed an unprecedented £70m to spend this summer on new players and bridging the gap to the Manchester clubs. The Frenchman may even be handed a brand spanking two-year contract extension at The Emirates Stadium.
While lack of substantial funds comparable to their league rivals might be to blame for what many feel are inadequate replacements for the departed Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie, what should Wenger do upon being handed a multi-million pound war-chest this summer?
Wojciech Szczesny, Lukas Fabianski and Vito Mannone do very little to instil confidence behind a brittle looking Arsenal back-four.
The Polish pair have spent long spells on the side-lines this season, the latter of which hasn't made an appearance at all this term, while Szczesny's improvement is constantly undermined by errors, the latest coming in defeat to Blackburn Rovers. Not a convincing enough shot stopper to justify his place.
Mannone held the fought admirably in their absence at the start of the season, but his horror error against Olympiakos last season is a reminder of his capacity to flounder.
Who could replace: Pepe Reina, Asmir Begovic, Victor Valdes
If you need convincing over the decline of Kieran Gibbs, simply look at his fall from grace for his country. Two caps to his name, the last coming three years ago.
However, even Gibbs could teach Andre Santos about positional sense with the Brazilian continuing to blag his way through his Arsenal career like a competition winner. Gunners fans will be praying his loan spell at Gremio can be made permanent.
At right-back, Wenger has replaced Carl Jenkinson, who began the season in excellent form, sparking an England call-up, with Bacary Sagna, whose performances have indeed mirrored those of a player who has suffered two broken legs in as many years.
Who could replace: Angel Rangel, Eric Abidal, Aly Cissokho
A position not properly filled since the departure of Mathieu Flamini in 2008, and one that has seen a variety of candidates try and fail.
Abou Diaby's problems with injury and Alex Song's attention span, prior to his move to Barcelona, failed to provide a solution last season.
Mikel Arteta has been employed in a deeper role to help supplement the likes of Diaby, Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere this season, but without a genuine player to break play up, Arsenal, coupled with problems in goal, have two wafer thin pillars either side of a fragile back-four.
Who could replace: Cheik Tiote, Michael Essien, Victor Wanyama
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