Robert Pires wants Arsenal to sign ANOTHER defender this January after splashing out £80m on their backline in the summer… and calls on Mikel Arteta to bring in more English players too
- Robert Pires wants Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to bring in another defender in January
- The Gunners spent £80m on new defenders in the summer such as Ben White
- Takehiro Tomiyasu and Nuno Tavares were also new backline recruits this year
- Pires claims Arsenal need more English players to help form the base of the team
- Arsenal can spend up to £200m this January under Financial Fair Play rules
Robert Pires has urged Mikel Arteta to bring in another defender at Arsenal in the January transfer window – and wants the Gunners to sign more English players.
The north Londoners spent around £150million in the summer window – more than any other Premier League club this summer – 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 given several players in that position head off to the Africa Cup of Nations this winter – while he claims English players help form the base of the team.
Robert Pires wants Arsenal to sign another defender in the January transfer window
Mikel Arteta’s side splashed out nearly £80m on the likes of Ben White (middle) and Takehiro Tomiyasu in the summer
Quoted by the Mirror, 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 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 British 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) 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 are set to be in the top four race this Christmas 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.