Arsene Wenger spoke about the difficulty of being able to sign players in the transfer market, ahead of his side’s 1-0 against West Brom.
The Arsenal manager has come under intense pressure from both fans and commentators this season after failing to properly add to his squad during the summer.
“I would like to remind you that to buy football players is not to go into a supermarket and just say: ‘I want to buy a right-back or a centre-back,’” Wenger said.
“It’s to find the right quality. If you go out tomorrow, you will see that everybody looks for the same positions everywhere. It’s not as simple as it looks.
“In January, it is even more difficult because players are even less available than in June or July. But we will try to be creative and have one or two good ideas.”
Wenger is a student of economics and his fastidiousness when it comes to signing players is well documented. He will not overpay for a player and will only bring in those who fit his philosophical framework.
It is an admirable approach in an era where the transfer market seems particularly inflated.
But there is one player Wenger cannot ignore and that is Moussa Sissoko of Newcastle.
The Sunday Times have report that Arsenal are preparing a £15 million move for the France international, who was in fine form during Newcastle’s recent winning streak.
Jack Wilshere’s injury has apparently forced the move, although Wenger has identified a centre-back as his priority in January.
However, he simply must reinforce his midfield, which has lacked a physical presence and leader since Patrick Vieira left the club nearly ten years ago.
Sissoko fits the mould, offering pace, power and versatility, able to play anywhere from the face of midfield to a position just behind the striker(s).
If Wenger is worried about overpaying for the player, he is surely aware of Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s tendency to sell players for a profit. Compared to some of the alternative options in the market, Sissoko might come at a comparatively cheaper price.
The advantages Sissoko offers are numerous: he has already adapted to English football, offers a goal-scoring threat from midfield and is already in excellent form. Arsenal would be signing a player ready-made for their top-four challenge and eager to play in the UEFA Champions League.
At times this season the Gunners have suffered from the absence of a ‘Plan B’ to their more fluid, possession-based game.
And whilst Sissoko is a slightly more direct player than those Wenger usually relies on, his slightly different approach to the game might be decisive in matches where Arsenal’s usual route to goal doesn’t work.
The 25 year-old netted the winner in Newcastle’s recent 1-0 win over QPR and has made similarly important contributions in the past.
His addition to the Arsenal midfield would give it bite and added depth, while Newcastle are a club who have proved they are ready to sell their best players in the past (Yohan Cabaye the most recent example).
Despite Wenger’s reservations about the current transfer market, this is one opportunity he should not pass up.