All the talk this week is surrounding the excitement of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang. Two outstanding former Dortmund attackers who have plenty of talent and could revolutionise the way Arsenal score goals.
The only drawback is the risk taken with any major transfers. Mkhitaryan is yet to prove himself in the Premier League, albeit under Mourinho, and Aubameyang raises questions over his attitude. The real excitement buzzing around Arsenal at the moment is the potential combination of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey as the Welshman returns from injury.
They have played fewer than 90 minutes together this season, as either midfielder joins the fray from the bench. Ramsey has been vital for Arsenal so far this year, contributing to 0.56 goals per game. Wilshere has made the midfield slot his own since his return to full fitness, with stellar performances against Crystal Palace and Chelsea.
Real Team Chemistry
The crucial thing for Wenger throughout the rest of January is, of course, the integration of the new signings, but also how he combines the talents of Ramsey and Wilshere.
They way in which they co-operate can be seen from Ramsey’s goal against Everton in October. Wilshere collected the ball in the hole behind the striker, Ramsey arrived from deep, and Wilshere’s through-ball made no mistake.
The arrival of world-class attackers could complicate the implementation of both midfielders together, but the fluidity of Arsenal’s play is clear when both are on the pitch.
In that Everton game, Wilshere spent 21% of his time in the CAM role, the most common spot for him. If Wilshere is to be deployed in a line-up with the likes of Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and Ozil, it may be necessary to set Wilshere up as a CDM.
This is not to say that the incoming players will not detract from the Arsenal attack. In his last season with Dortmund, Mkhitaryan contributed to a stunning 0.84 goals per game, meanwhile Aubameyang has contributed to over 30 goals a season for the last two years, and looks set to do the same again.
Integrating the Newbies
Despite the wealth of attacking quality on show, perhaps suppling Arsenal with an attacking vibrancy similar to Liverpool under Klopp (indeed, both potential new signings were bought by Klopp in 2013/14), it would be a shame for Wilshere’s resurgence to first-team football to be stifled by big money transfers.
Many would argue that Wilshere has been the only stand-out player during poorer Arsenal performances, and his style of play certainly suits the maverick style provided by Ramsey. It would stand to reason that the pair could cause serious damage to opposition defences.
This is the crunch time for Wenger. He’s lost Sanchez which, considering his (relatively) lowly 7 goals at this stage of the season, is no great disadvantage. He’s acquiring, potentially, two excellent players, but to prove that he still has the managerial prowess, he needs to integrate them quickly.
This season is shaping up to be a dud for Wenger and the gang. Next year will be the definer for where Arsenal stand in English football. If he can get the new boys settled fast, and a chemistry built with his British midfielders, there could be exciting times ahead for Arsenal fans.