Arsenal appointed Mikel Arteta on a three-and-a-half-year deal last week and the Spaniard is set to take charge for the first time on Boxing Day when the Gunners face Bournemouth on the south coast.
He was in the stands as Freddie Ljungberg took charge for the final time as an interim boss when Arsenal drew 0-0 with Everton on Saturday, which laid bare the deficiencies in the current Gunners side.
The main positive on Saturday was Arsenal’s defensive solidity. Everton did not have a single effort on target and the clean sheet was the Gunners’ first since a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on October 6.
Arteta, who has been hired to bring the identity back to the club, should start improving things right from the back, particularly given the youthful make-up of the side.
The Spanish tactician, 37, needs to quickly firm up Arsenal’s back-four to improve results heading into the busy schedule. David Luiz’s move across the capital hasn’t worked, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been far off from his standards this term.
With the first-choice centre-back pairing of Luiz and Sokratis failing to live up to the expectations, and the likes of Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi equally underwhelming, it is a no-brainer that Arsenal need to focus on bringing in further reinforcements at the back next month.
In addition to a central defender, Arteta would also do a smart job by recruiting a full-back.
The Gunners’ current left-backs, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac, are currently out injured, while Hector Bellerin has struggled to hit top form since returning from a long-term injury.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles isn’t a natural right-back, although he has deputised well in Bellerin’s absence. Hence, the North London giants must improve that area when the transfer window reopens in January.
To that end, the Gunners must make a renewed attempt to sign Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Meunier, who was linked with a move to the Emirates in the summer. (h/t The Mirror)
Thomas Meunier, 28, has become an established member of the PSG squad, featuring 31 times for his club last season, when they successfully defended their Ligue 1 crown. He has featured 16 times across all competitions this season, bagging a goal and an assist.
The Belgium international might not be an upgrade on Bellerin but he has plenty to contribute and would be a strong alternative. Meunier is an attacking right-back, renowned for his creativity, energy and crossing ability. He is extremely versatile, robust in the challenge and is vastly experienced playing at the very highest level.
The former Club Brugge man isn’t the most solid defender but he more than makes up for it with his ability to be a playmaker on the right side. He can be a real asset to any team, and in the video below, one could get a glimpse of Meunier’s ability to create and score goals in equal measure.
All in all, Arsenal reigniting interest in Meunier could pay off handsomely for them in the current scheme of things as they look to achieve stability under new manager Mikel Arteta.
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