Assessing what positions Arsenal need to strengthen this month

By on January 17, 2024

We’re already half way through the January transfer window and Arsenal are yet to make any significant additions to their squad. Fans are anxious that without new blood, the clubs title aspirations will fall short once again this season.

After a solid start to the 2023/24 campaign that saw us sitting top at Christmas, the Gunners title charge was dealt a major double blow following shock defeats to West Ham and Fulham. We now sit fourth in the Premier League table – five points behind leaders Liverpool – so those holding Arsenal tickets are understandably concerned we’ve blow another great opportunity to win the title. And with Tottenham also level on points having played an extra game, Arsenal are now looking over their shoulder and worried about just finishing in the top four!

Mikel Arteta is being urged to dip into the market this month to bolster the squad and get our title bid back on track. Let’s look at the key positions Arsenal need to strengthen:


There is only one place to start and it’s become crystal clear that Arsenal need to invest in a new top class striker. Last season, Arsenal’s forward’s shared the load with the front four all scoring at least 10 Premier League goals. It was a significant achievement for Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard to all bag double digits in the league, but they were highly unlikely to repeat such a feat against this year.

So far, Saka is Arsenal’s highest scorer with just 6 goals from 19 league games. Jesus – Arsenal’s first choice striker – has just 3 goals in 15 games, Martinelli has found the net just twice in his 18 appearances while Odegaard has 4 in 17 games. Those stats are a huge decrease from last year and it’s obvious that the front four are struggling to showcase the consistency they produced last season.

While many feel we need another winger to lighten the load on Saka and Martinelli, the main focus should be signing a top class finisher. Victor Osimhem and Ivan Toney have been strongly linked but both will cost around £100m. Arsenal cannot afford that kind of money in January so any moves for them will have to wait until the summer. Even then, we may struggle to sign either striker as there will be stiff competition from the likes of Chelsea.

Many other names have been touted as potential targets for Arsenal, such as Dominic Solanke, Viktor Gyökeres and Santiago Giménez. They would be much more affordable compared to Osimhen or Toney but they aren’t at the same level just yet. If Arsenal are to beat Man City and Liverpool to major honours, we need a striker who’s ready to make a huge impact immediately.

It’s going to be virtually impossible to find such a player this winter, so the likelihood is Arsenal are going to have to either try their luck with a short term loan, or continue with the current forwards and hope they rediscover their touch in front of goal during the second half of the season.


Arsenal have been left short of numbers in defence. Jurrien Timber’s injury on the opening weekend of the season was a hammer blow as his versatility meant Arteta was without a player who could play anywhere across the back four. Timber could make his return from his ACL injury in March but there is no guarantee how long it will take for him to get back up to speed after such a long-term absence.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is another player who can fill-in across the defence but he too has endured an injury plagued campaign. He’s also away at the Asian Cup and won’t be available until mid-February. To compound matters, Oleksandr Zinchenko is struggling with a calf injury that’s hampered him this season.

It means Arteta has just four defenders at his disposal, with Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Jacub Kiwior expected to start their third consecutive game against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Cedric Soares is still on the books but hasn’t played this season and is expected to leave the club before the end of the month.

It would be a huge risk for Arsenal to go into the second half of the season so thin at the back. Injuries to Saliba and Tomiyasu last March derailed our title charge, and we don’t want the same thing to happen this year. So, hopefully Arteta is trying to bring in another defender before the window closes. Sacha Boey, Jeremie Frimpong, Leonardo Spinazzola, Ousmane Diomande and Jorrel Hato have all been linked in recent weeks.


Another area that Arsenal need to look at is in midfield. Declan Rice has proven to be a superb signing for Arsenal since arriving from West Ham, but we could really do with another top midfielder to play alongside him. A midfield trio of Rice, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard has huge potential and could be a match for any club in the league.

However, unfortunately, Partey has once again endured an injury plagued campaign and it’s obvious we can’t rely on him to stay fit. He’s barely played this season and even though he’s on the verge of making his latest comeback, chances are he’ll pick up another injury during the second half of the campaign.

As much as Partey is a top class midfielder when fit, if we get a decent offer on the table we should take it this month and use the funds to buy a midfielder who can cope with playing 40+ games a season. Martin Zubimendi has been strongly linked along with Everton’s Amadou Onana. Both would be excellent signings for Arsenal but deals this month will be difficult as Real Sociedad don’t want to sell Zubimendi and his release clause is out of our reach. Everton insist it will require and offer north of £60m to sign Onana this month, while the likes of Chelsea and United are also keen.

Realistically, Arsenal will need to wait until the summer to reshuffle in midfield. Arteta will just have to pray that Partey can stay fit over the coming months and then sell in the summer. The boss can then use the money from Partey’s sale to sign a long-term placement like Zubimendi or Onana.

For now, the next two weeks should be about buying a versatile defender and hopefully bringing in another forward to help in the goalscoring department. If Arsenal could achieve those two aims, we may have a squad strong enough to compete in the Premier League and Champions League over the coming months.