When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2019, it will mark not only the start of a new year and a new decade, but the opening of the January transfer window in the Premier League. I’ll let you decide which of those three is the most notable.
Arsenal Head of Football Raul Sanllehi has once again played down the importance of winter transfers, “Globally, it’s not the strategic window...The winter window is much more tactical.” Last season, the Gunners were hardly active in January. They loaned out Emi Martinez and Emile Smith Rowe. Denis Suárez, who played a paltry 95-minutes for the club during his loan, was the only player brought in.
As always, there has been no shortage of links to any number of different players. The most noise seems to be surrounding RB Leipzig centerback Dayot Upamecano, who was linked to the Gunners over the summer. According to a SkySports compilation of rumors from a number of different media outlets, Arsenal have also been linked with Kevin Volland, Jerome Boateng, Wilfred Ndidi, Dries Mertens, Chris Smalling, James Rodriguez, Ezequiel Barco. Of those, Barco, a 20-year old attacker from Atlanta, is the only one that fits the profile of the business I think the Gunners should be looking to conduct. More likely is that most or all of those rumors are of the proverbial “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” variety used to generate clicks.
If there are funds available in North London, which to be clear, is not known, they would probably be better spent in the summer. The Gunners don’t need tinkering around the edges; they need a full-on rebuild. Theoretically, that rebuild started with the additions of the underwhelming Nicolas Pépé, the impressive Gabriel Martinelli, and the yet-to-be-seen in Arsenal red William Saliba over the summer.
But additions are only half of the transfer window picture. There has been a great deal of smoke around a Granit Xhaka loan move to Hertha Berlin. Xhaka was held out of the Chelsea match due to “illness” but, the speculation is that he didn’t play so as not to get hurt before a possible move. He seems the most likely player to leave the Emirates in the next few weeks.
As has been the case in nearly every open window, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Özil have been linked with loan moves away. I doubt either player goes anywhere in the next month, however. Mustafi likely stays because with Calum Chambers hurt, Arsenal need all the centerback depth they can muster. Özil isn’t going anywhere both because of his wages and because he is persona-non-grata in China, which is one of the places he had often been linked with a move to.
In other business, Eddie Nketiah seems likely to be recalled from his loan move to Leeds United and to be loaned back out elsewhere. Both he and Arsenal are disappointed with his lack of playing time at the Championship side.
As always, check back for the latest transfer news. We’ll filter out the garbage and the noise so you get the best stuff out there. You’re welcome.