The January window was always going to look something like this for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta and the club made it clear that there needed to be departures before there could be arrivals. The Gunners’ roster was bloated and money needed to be shipped out / saved before more could be spent.
Well, we’ve done the first bit. Arsenal sent Sead Kolasinac on loan to Schalke early in the month. Mesut Özil and the club mutually agreed to terminate his contract, and it’s just a matter of quarantine time until he’s announced as a Fenerbahce player. Sokratis also mutually agreed to cancel his contract and is reportedly garnering interest from a handful of clubs around Europe.
That Arsenal are forced into cancelling contracts and loaning out older, senior players says a lot about their recent transfer / football operations strategy and not much of what it says is good. But y’all can hash that out in the comments.
The exciting part — possible incomings — starts in earnest. As usual, Mikel Arteta declined to speak about individual players, but most outlets have Arsenal kicking the tires on Martin Ødegaard, the 22-year old creative midfielder from Real Madrid. Reports have it as a loan, possibly with an option to buy. I’m in favor of the move if it does have an option to buy. I’d rather not develop another Real Madrid midfielder for them without at least having a chance to bring him on full-time. It looks as if it’s between Arsenal and Real Sociedad for where the Norwegian will spend the second half of the season.
The Gunners have also been consistently linked with Norwich playmaker Emi Buendia, but it looks as if that move will wait until summer if it happens at all. Popular target Houssem Aouar is once again being linked, but there is considerably less noise on that front than there was back in the fall. Christian Eriksen has also been linked with a loan move, and while that would be amusing for the Arsenal-Tottenham banter, I think Arsenal should be (and are) not particularly interested there.
Mikel Arteta also suggested that Arsenal are looking to sign backups at positions that were left “thin” by the outgoing moves, which almost certainly means left back. That’s good. We saw how much the Arsenal attack suffered when Kieran Tierney had to miss out because of calf tightness. The club needs a capable backup not an out-of-position player for that spot.
The Gunners could also do with a backup keeper not named Alex Runarsson, but my feeling is that is lower down on the priority list.
Should be a fun last 10 days of the month.