Arsène Wenger likes his midfielders. Since the turn of 2005, the Arsenal boss encouraged the signings of small compact players who may not be physically strong but have quick technical feet. Over the years, the likes of Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri, Alexander Hleb, Andrey Arshavin and most recently Santi Cazorla have all enjoyed successful spells at the club.
But is there room for more?
Lewis Holtby has been attracting attention ever since he signed for FC Schalke 04 in 2010. After impressing then coach Felix Magath, the midfielder was sent out on loan before finding himself in the starting line-up just a year later. Now, having accumulated over fifty appearances for Die Knappen, the 22-year-old has sparked interest in England.
Even before joining Schalke, Holtby always had a favouritism towards England due to his English-born father who was a die-hard Everton fan. In 2009, he stated:
“My father was born in England and was an Everton fan since the age of five. He immediately infected me with the Everton virus! Since then I have been an Everton fan and have always followed their games.”
Now the German international has already expressed his desire to come to the Premier League but has set his sights on a higher ambition. A club that contests against the very best in Europe year after year. “It was a dream to play in the Premier League and it was a team like Arsenal I would like to play for.”
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, now is the time for him to decide where his future lies. But do Arsenal really need him?
If all players were injury-free, Arsenal would have a wealth of experience in their midfield ranks, ranging from the youthful Thomas Eisfeld to veteran Tomas Rosický. Yet it is injury that has tormented the Gunner camp for years and with Abou Diaby’s never-ending nightmare, plus Rosický’s recent problems, a younger alternative with experience is more than accepted.
As Arsenal play a dominating 4-3-3 style, three possessive midfielders are required to keep the balance and tempo of the play in their favour. Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are already gelling but with little variety available, could one suspension or injury ruin their flow?
Whether Arsène Wenger goes for the German remains to be seen but if the North London club want to have an array of options, signing a player who desires to come to the Emirates would be a step in the right direction.