Kallstrom will give Arsenal a boost, but they still need a striker

Posted by John Cross

You saw what Mesut Ozil did for Arsenal when they signed him on deadline day last summer. It is hard to imagine that Kim Kallstrom will have the same effect after the 31-year-old Swedish midfielder joined Arsenal on loan on this deadline day.

It would be wrong to compare the two. Ozil was a marquee signing, bought for 42 million pounds and a club-record fee to lift the squad to new heights. Some of his performances have been inconsistent but the feel-good factor around him has been invigorating and has helped inspire Arsenal this season.

-- Report: Kallstrom signs
-- Zouma to Chelsea
-- City miss Porto pair
-- Chicharito's future

Kallstrom is all about rather urgent needs. Arsenal have a wealth of midfielders but Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are injured while Mathieu Flamini is banned for three games. It is an acute and short-term midfield crisis which needed to be addressed, so Arsenal brought in Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow.

I think that, in itself, it is decent business. He's a quality player, highly experienced, a good passer and a decent stopgap. To be honest, when everyone is back he may struggle to make the bench. But it's decent cover.

But where Arsene Wenger has fallen down is not doing anything else. For weeks he's been talking about needing to sign a striker, especially after losing Theo Walcott. That has passed by and suddenly he's got himself another midfielder.

It is hard to fathom and frustrating for the fans who see this window and this season as a chance to go and win the title.

With a little bit more in the squad, plus the sort of boost that Ozil gave last summer, surely the title is within Arsenal's grasp. But while they were willing to pay the 37 million pounds it would take to sign Julian Draxler, the Schalke midfielder, Wenger balked at paying the same amount for a young, unproven, promising player as for a finished article like Juan Mata.

There is no conflict there. The club hierarchy make it clear there's money to spend. I get the impression they sometimes get frustrated and want Wenger to spend the money available.

But ultimately, they leave the decision-making on every transfer up to Wenger. In my opinion, that has to be the way. The manager has to have the final say.

I do feel the frustration. But it's hard to get value in January. There have been so many daft stories about various players being close to joining Arsenal. Second-rate or former players. The truth is that a lot of players were offered to Arsenal -- and turned down.

And if ever you needed proof of why panic buys are bad news, look no further than Ju Young Park, the striker signed in a mad moment who they cannot get rid of. The same people screaming for Wenger to buy a striker -- any striker -- are the ones decrying how much has been wasted on Park.

Arsenal will go big again next summer. I think there will be a big-name striker, possibly a fresh move for Draxler and one more. But if you compromise now, get third choice rather than first choice in the summer, then the long-term result is that the squad won't be as good next season.

Trouble is, the fans will have to see the big signing in the summer to convince them on that argument.

I think Arsenal are a striker light on a title-winning squad. But if you sign the wrong player now, you will be one player away from winning the title next year, too.


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