Robert Pires has urged Mikel Arteta to bring in another defender at Arsenal in the January transfer window – and wants them to sign more English players.
The north Londoners spent around £150million in the summer window – more than any other Premier League club – with centre-back Ben White arriving for £50m alongside full-backs Takehiro Tomiyasu and Nuno Tavares for a combined £28m.
Former Gunners winger Pires believes another defender is necessary – and not a central midfielder despite a looming crisis in that position due to players heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations this winter – while he claims that English players help form the base of the team.
Robert Pires wants Arsenal to sign another defender in the January transfer window
The club splashed out nearly £80m on the likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White (middle)
Pires said: ‘It is difficult but in January if Arsenal can spend money maybe on a defender because I think our midfield and strikers are very good players.
‘In my opinion (they should) sign English players because we need English players in this squad because when you play in the Premier League, you need a player like this.
‘For example, in my time I played with Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown, Ashely Cole and this is the base for your team. They need to spend the money on a defender in my opinion, English.’
The Gunners have created a new British core in their team over the past 12 months, with youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe joining the likes of White, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and full-back Kieran Tierney in the Arsenal squad.
Pires wants more English Gunners alongside Emile Smith Rowe (left) and Bukayo Saka (right)
English defenders Callum Chambers and Rob Holding are also in the squad, with academy products Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun also in the first-team set-up.
However, Arsenal will have a midfield issue during this winter as central players Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny will head off for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) along with attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Reports claim that the first Premier League players will head off for AFCON after the Boxing Day fixtures this year, while midfielder Granit Xhaka is also out until January with a knee ligament issue.
The Gunners look set to be in the top four race after recovering well from a poor start to the season. Arteta’s Arsenal currently lie in fifth place in the table, three points behind fourth-placed West Ham – who they face at home in a fortnight.
Mikel Arteta’s side are currently fifth and are in contention for the top four this season
Pires hopes that Arsenal will be in contention for the top four come the end of the season but urges the Gunners squad to ‘fight and keep the spirit’ under Arteta to achieve their goal.
‘I hope, I wish, because this is my club,’ said Pires when asked if the Gunners can get top four this season. ‘I know for Mikel Arteta it’s not easy but they need to, with Edu, rebuild the team.
‘I know they spent a lot of money during the transfer window, so I believe always in this club. They need to fight.
‘That is the most important thing until the end, but the players need to fight and keep the spirit until the end with Arteta.’
As Sportsmail revealed earlier this month, the Gunners will have a maximum of £200m to spend in this January transfer window if they want to use up all of their Financial Fair Play power.
Robert Pires was talking as he participated in the second episode of the second series of Hotels.com’s Dream Island. To watch Dream Island, visit Hotels.com Europe on YouTube: YouTube.com/hotelseu
- Robert Pires sends Arsenal transfer plan to Mikel Arteta ahead of January window – Mirror Online