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Arsene Wenger: "I will be busy"

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As the club looks to January, Arsene Wenger gives his thoughts.

Pondering the January sales
Pondering the January sales
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Ah, January. A month where, in the real world, not much happens. There's a couple holidays, there's some big sports events in the US (is the Super Bowl still in January?), and there's not a whole lot else. In the soccer world, though, January of course is Transfer Window Time. It's a time where teams can reinforce, pick up some depth, and otherwise fortify themselves for either a title run or a relegation battle, depending on circumstance - there generally aren't giant deals made like in the summer, because most of the best players are cup-tied, but there are generally useful players to be found in January if you want to look for them.

Arsene Wenger famously did only one bit of business in the summer, bringing in Petr Cech before the window even opened, and then...nothing. The spate of injuries that has followed this inactivity has led many to hope for, insist on, or demand that Wenger do something in January, despite the fact that overall, Arsenal's squad is not only playing well for the most part but playing consistently (6W 2D 1L home, 6W 1D 3L away).

Arsene Wenger, though, seems to agree with the majority, as he said today:

"I'll be busy, that's for sure," he replied when asked about his January transfer business. "I'm already busy and I said already one month ago we are a bit short to deal with all the competitions we face, especially in midfield. We will be busy, yes."

That sound you hear is a collective eye-roll from a very large swath of Arsenal supporters, who have heard this song and dance before from Le Boss and don't expect him to do anything. Since the introduction of the January window in 2003, however, Arsene has signed players like Gabriel, Nacho Monreal, Emmanuel Adebayor, Andrei Arshavin, and Theo Walcott in that month, so it's not like he has zero history there (he also signed Mart Poom and Guilliaume Warmuz, so).

I think one of the best ways to describe Arsene's transfer strategy is "relentlessly tactical". We know he won't overspend in any window, we know he won't budge from his own valuation of a player - but we also know he can fill a need when it arises, and that often when he does so, he does so completely under the radar and/or with a player few people have heard of.

Don't worry - this is not a 400-plus word appeal to authority. I'm not saying Arsene's always right or always successful in his transfer strategy. What it is, though, is an appeal for a bit of perspective - if Arsenal doesn't sign someone by January 6, the window's not a failure. If Arsenal only sign Mohamed Elneny, the window's not a failure. Arsenal are still playing well, are still in first place, and are in good position and playing consistently well enough to hold off most if not all title challengers* - enjoy that. First place is fun. Let's have some fun.

*I reserve the right to change this opinion based on the actions of Manchester City Football Club in January