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David Ornstein casts doubt on January transfer moves for Arsenal

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Baring massive injuries to the squad, expect a quiet January.

Arsenal v Colorado Rapids Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

With Arsenal still on international break, renowned source for all things Gunners, David Ornstein held a Q&A session with readers of The Athletic. (Note: A subscription is required to read the full article). One particular topic of interest in the piece was the January transfer window and the likelihood of any Arsenal moves during the winter.

First, Ornstein was first asked about his thoughts in general for Arsenal in the upcoming transfer window:

“I think it will be a quiet window for Arsenal and most other clubs. January is increasingly becoming a time for an emergency deal or two, or an opportunity too good to turn down. With more and more clubs getting their recruitment houses in order, we’re not seeing the kind of excitement that the Torres-Carroll window brought us. I’m not sure Arsenal need that much in January and certainly they, and others, far prefer using the summer window.”

This seems logical. Arsenal signed five senior players in the summer, loaning William Saliba back to Saint-Étienne, and picking up Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. Plus the club has a fairly deep roster as it stands. Last week I looked at a three deep depth chart including the rising Academy prospects.

With Alexandre Lacazette, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, Keiran Tierney, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Emile Smith Rowe all returning from injury, Unai Emery has plenty of options for this season. Not to mention if injuries in the attacking midfield line begin to rack up there is always the highly-talented Mesut Ozil just sitting around North London.

Later in the Q&A session he got a specific follow-up question about defensive reinforcements and the prospect of RB Leipzip’s Dayot Upamecano:

“I don’t sense they want or need a defender in January. Famous last words but if and when everyone is fit and available, they have plenty of options. And they will be reluctant to add another number to their defensive ranks before William Saliba comes in next summer. On Upamecano, I’m told interested clubs - of whom Arsenal have long been one - were quoted 100m euros.”

While Arsenal spent heavily to bring in Nicholas Pepe in the summer, it’s hard to see that becoming a regular trend. Especially not for Upamecano. Center-back is one of Arsenal’s deepest positions at the moment and that’s without William Saliba finally joining the team next summer. That money in the summer is more likely to be spent on true right-back depth for Bellerin, potentially signing Ceballos on a permanent deal if this season goes well, and/or replacing Ozil if he exits in either of the next two windows.

If Arsenal make any moves in January it will likely be new loans for Academy players for the second half of the year or securing permanent moves in the summer for current loanees Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohamed Elneny.

The article has a lot of great Arsenal related questions and insight beyond the topic of the winter transfer market. It’s well worth the read if you are a subscriber or have been thinking about getting a subscription. Hang in there Arsenal fans, just a few more days until the Premier League returns.