5 'Leaders' Arsenal Should Target in the Summer Transfer Window

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014

5 'Leaders' Arsenal Should Target in the Summer Transfer Window

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    Arsenal are often criticised for a lack of leadership. Recently, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes told The Telegraph:

    The Mikel Artetas, the Santi Cazorlas, Tomas Rosickys, and Mesut Özil as well, although I know he’s not played for a bit, it seems like they go on the pitch with no discipline. It’s almost as if they say: ‘you four, five midfielders, go out there do what you want. Try and score a goal, a few little nice one-twos, a bit of tippy-tappy football. Don’t bother running back’.

    I don’t know if that’s what the manager does, it just seems that way. They just seem to be midfield players with no discipline. There are no leaders, there’s no Patrick Vieira, there’s no (Tony) Adams, there’s no Martin Keown.

    There are different types of leaders. Keown and Adams were the sort to lay into their team-mates when necessary. Vieira was naturally more quiet, but led by example with his outstanding midfield displays.

    Such players are famously difficult to acquire. However, in this piece, we try to identify five players who could bring leadership and influence to the Arsenal squad.

Miroslav Klose, Lazio

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    Arsenal will be in the market for strikers this summer. Miroslav Klose would add depth, experience and leadership to Arsene Wenger's options.

    According to The Metro, Arsenal tried to sign Klose in the January transfer window. Come the summer, they might consider renewing their bid.

    This season, Samuel Eto'o has shown the value that a veteran forward can offer. With a strong German contingent already at Arsenal, Klose could yet have a chance to thrive in the Premier League. 

Adam Lallana, Southampton

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    There are different types of leaders. Adam Lallana is not one to rant and rave. However, as captain of Southampton, he is a consistently inspiring presence on the field.

    Lallana's displays this season have made him an England international and one of the most coveted young players in Europe. According to The Mirror, Chelsea have already declared their interest.

    Lallana's influence will only grow in the years to come. Arsenal should rival any bid. 

Alex, PSG

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    According to Sky Sports, former Chelsea defender Alex could be out of contract in the summer. If he is, Arsenal would be wise to make a move.

    The Gunners are very short of cover at centre-half. Alex has won league titles in Brazil, Netherlands, England and France. That kind of experience is hard to find.

    In Arsenal's young squad, a player with Alex's medal collection would undoubtedly emerge as a leader.

Victor Valdes, Barcelona

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    Victor Valdes is probably the most valuable asset available on a Bosman transfer this year. Having suffered a cruel cruciate ligament injury, the Spanish international has now played his last game for Barcelona.

    Come the summer, he will move on in search of a new challenge.

    Arsenal have an excellent goalkeeper in Wojciech Szczesny. However, they will lose Lukasz Fabianski when his contract expires in June. Adding Valdes would give Arsenal depth and experience in one of the most important positions on the pitch. Szczesny could learn plenty from a goalkeeper with Valdes' remarkable trophy haul. 

Dennis Bergkamp, Ajax Amsterdam

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    Not all leaders have to be on the pitch.

    It's possible to lead from the sidelines, too. Throughout his time with the club, Dennis Bergkamp led by example. He was the foremost technician at the club and a superb influence on younger players.

    Bergkamp is now coaching at Ajax, but Arsenal should do everything they can to bring him back to London.