Another season has meant another slew of injuries for Arsenal. With Chelsea struggling, and the Manchester clubs showing signs of vulnerability in recent weeks, Arsenal appeared poised to finally make a real run at the Premier League title. But a shortage of fit players may once again doom the Gunners' hopes of ending a painful drought that dates back over a decade.
Francis Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott, and Danny Welbeck have all been sidelined with injuries, leaving Arsene Wenger with fewer options to compete in a wide-open field that currently has Leicester City at the top of the table.
If there was ever a time for Arsenal to make a big push to add players in the winter, it might be this season. Several names have made the rounds in the British press, including Real Madrid midfielder Isco, who seems certain to leave the Santiago Bernabeau after being consistently overlooked by Rafael Benitez.
Isco, 23, could fetch more than £30 million, but he is probably more of a summer target than a winter one. Arsenal may have to fend off competition from Juventus, who are also considering making a bid for Isco, according to Tuttosport. The Italian outlet also linked Arsenal to Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi. The 22-year-old Argentine has scored 27 goals in 48 games for the first-place club. Like with Isco, it seems unlikely that a move could happen in January.
However, a winter target appears to be Bayer Leverkusen defensive midfielder Lars Bender, according to Italian publication Calciomercato. Adding the 26-year-old would be a provactive move with Coquelin sidelined for three months. Bender was reportedly on Arsenal's radar in the summer, with a price tag of £18 million. Sporting Lisbon defensive midfielder William Carvalho expressed interest in Arsenal in October, and reports from the U.K. suggest that Arsenal are lining up a move for the 23-year-old.
Arsenal's main need may still be striker, with Olivier Giroud consistently second-guessed as the primary forward. With Danny Welbeck still injured, the Daily Mirror has become the latest publication to link Alexandre Pato to a Premier League club, as Arsenal are now considered a top target. It seems pretty obvious that Pato is hoping to leave the Brazilian league for the deep pockets of English clubs, but he doesn't seem to be the type for Arsenal. Pato left AC Milan in 2012 after some inconsistent efforts, and has played for Brazil clubs ever since.
While the talent no doubt exists for 26-year-old, it would be a roll of the dice for Wenger. Pato showed flashes of his previous form in Brazil, but it might be a stretch to presume he is ready to make the move back to perhaps the most competitive league in the world.
Wenger recently called upon highly regarded prospect Jeff Reine-Adelaide into the 18-man roster, but the 17-year-old French starlet has yet to feature in any matches this season.