We’re inside the final 24 hours of the January transfer window, which will officially close on Friday, January 31st at 11 PM GMT | 6 PM ET | 3 PM PT. Transfers don’t actually have to be fully signed, sealed, and delivered by that deadline, however. Between 9 PM and 11 PM, teams may submit a “deal sheet” with the basic details of the transfer that allows them to finalize the move after the deadline has passed.
The only official piece of incoming business right now is the loan-in of left centerback Pablo Marí from Flamengo in Brazil. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal payed a £4M loan fee and have an £8M option to buy at the end of the term.
Earlier this month, the Gunners recalled Eddie Nketiah from his loan to Leeds United, reportedly because he wasn’t getting enough playing time. There was talk that the young striker might be loaned back out. Even though you can be rostered to three teams in a season, you may only play for two. Nketiah played (and scored) for Arsenal in the FA Cup 4th Round against Bournemouth earlier this week, so it looks as if he will be in North London for the second half of the season.
The Gunners recalled goalkeeper Dejan Iliev from what was supposed to be a season-long loan to Slovakian side SKF Sered and loaned him back out to Polish Ekstraklasa club Jagiellonia Bialystok.
Arsenal sent a trio of young players out on loan earlier this month — Emile Smith Rowe to Championship side Huddersfield Town, Dinos Mavropanos to 2. Bundesliga side FC Nurnberg, and Tyreece John-Jules to League One side Lincoln City. The club also extended Ben Sheaf’s loan to League One side Doncaster Rovers for the rest of the season.
David Ornstein reported that Arsenal are likely to sign Southampton right back Cédric Soares on loan. Although primarily a defender, the Portuguese international can also play on the right side of the midfield.
The deal is thought to be worth £5M to the Saints. That number is total value to Southampton — loan fee + salary savings + “possibly other savings” — not the cost to Arsenal. Soares is out of contract at the end of the season, and the move would put Arsenal in “pole position” to sign him on a free in the summer should they choose.
Soares is recovering from a minor knee injury and is expected to be available after the upcoming international break.
As ever, an open transfer window allows all manner of rumors, links, over-analyzings of social media posts, and completely made up garbage to blow in. Arsenal aren’t likely do much business before the window closes, mostly because the club doesn’t have much in the way of available funds for transfers. Additionally, the Gunners’ top brass have said time and again that they prefer to use the January window for emergencies and that they view the summer as the time to make significant changes to the roster.
The 27-year old PSG left back was consistently linked with Arsenal early in the window. There were reports that he had signed a pre-contract to come to North London on a free in the summer. Then there were reports that Arsenal might loan him in or buy him for the second half of the season. Mikel Arteta reportedly vetoed any move for him.
Before the Pablo Mari loan, Arsenal were reportedly exploring a loan in for the 23-year old Shakhtar Donetsk centerback. But with Mari in the fold at Arsenal, this one almost certainly isn’t happening.
I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Arsenal are interested in the French centerback. It’s also clear that they do not have the money to pry him away from an unwilling-to-move-him-anyway RB Leipzig. This is one of those “complete garbage, made up rumors,” at least for this window. I’m sure they’ll be new links come summer, however. And it’s going to be a BIG number.
The links to the Bayern Munich man came early in the month. It isn’t going to happen. Also, Arsenal don’t need another over-30 stopgap centerback, preferably ever again.
Links to the Sheffield United central midfielder have picked up in the last few days. But as is the case with everything that isn’t an inexpensive loan, I don’t think Arsenal can afford the move. The Blades have slapped a £20M price tag on the Scottish international. Also, I don’t see why Sheffield United would move a key piece out when they have a legitimate shot at European football next season.
It seems that an Arsenal-Lemar link in a transfer window has joined death and taxes on the list of certainties in life; he’s taken over the place of William Carvalho in that respect. Atleti paid more than £50M for Lemar over the summer. They’ve said he isn’t going anywhere this window. I believe them, at least with respect to him moving to North London.
Another one from the “Arsenal Transfer Rumor Greatest Hits” playlist got another spin this week. Apparently the Gunners turned down a chance to sign the now Chelsea-target. Good. Arsenal need a lot of things, a 32-year old, mediocre wide attacker is not one of them.
Barcelona are in the market for a replacement for the injured Luis Suárez, and the Gunners’ leading scorer has been mentioned as a target. I don’t think the Gabonese striker will move tomorrow, but when the Catalan giants want something, they have a history of wildly overpaying for it. See e.g. Philippe Coutinho. By the way, huge thanks to Barcelona for giving Liverpool the money that helped turn them into the Premier League obliterating juggernaut they are.
According to Sky Sports, Everton turned down a £85M offer from the Spanish side for Richarlson. So it would seem Barca are about their usual ways. I bet we see at least one story in the next 24-hours about an insanely large offer for PEA.
Again, I don’t think he moves tomorrow, but he could be sold over the summer. He’s out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 season and has been hesitant to sign an extension. Alexandre Lacazette is the same position come summertime. Arsenal should have the money to make one big move, but multiple moves would probably require selling to buy, and either striker would fetch a decent chunk of money. Gabriel Martinelli bursting onto the scene this season makes selling a veteran attacker much easier to stomach.
As he has been for multiple windows, the German centerback was linked with a move away from the Emirates; this time to Galatasaray. Even with the addition of Pablo Mari, the Gunners are so thin at CB that I don’t think Mustafi goes anywhere.
After his incident with the Emirates fans earlier this season, it appeared as if Xhaka’s time in North London might be finished. There were reports in late December that a move to Hertha Berlin was all but done. But Mikel Arteta reportedly convinced him to stay, and the Swiss midfielder has been an important piece in the new manager’s setup. Whatever Xhaka’s limitations might be, Arsenal cannot afford to move him right now because they don’t have anybody who can do the same things tactically.
Earlier this week, The Athletic reported that the Real Madrid loanee might cut his time in North London short to seek more playing time on a re-loan somewhere else. The Spaniard has since tweeted “Fight until the end. Let’s go Arsenal.” which you could interpret as an “I’m staying” response. I’m apathetic about whether he stays or leaves.
I’ve pretty much run out of ways to say “this probably isn’t happening and Arsenal couldn’t afford it anyway,” so you might get a few retreads over the next 24 hours. I expect the Gunners to announce the loan for Soares sometime before the window closes but that should be their only piece of business. That won’t stop the rumor mill from churning, however, and we will keep you up to date on all the hot gossip.