Ah, the January transfer window. How I haven’t missed your rumors, whispers, silliness, and general propensity to get people riled up over stuff that, in all likelihood, was made up by somebody trying to push an agenda. Usually it is the agents, trying to drum up buzz and increase fees for their clients, which in turn puts more money in their own pockets. Sometimes it’s teams floating test balloons to gauge opinion. And sometimes it’s the reporter in the bullpen at the paper trying to manufacture some clicks on a slow news day.
It’s our job to cut through all that noise, tell you who is making what up, how likely something actually is, and whether Arsenal are going to wind up with any incoming or outgoing players. And I promise you, no matter what you read, Leo Messi isn’t coming to Arsenal. Mesut Ozil isn’t headed to D.C. United, either.
The Gunners could do with a few pieces, although I’m not sure how likely they are to be able to accomplish anything meaningful in the January window. It’s generally the more difficult of the two windows in which to make deals and is better used to tinker around the edges of the roster rather than to make major changes. Add in the difficult financial situation around world football, well the world economy really, and you’ve got the makings of a quiet month.
I think that if Arsenal add a creative, attacking presence to their midfield, it will have been a successful window in terms of additions. That’s all they really NEED need right now. Whether they accomplish that via a loan move for someone like Isco or a permanent move for someone like Houssem Aouar or Marcel Sabitzer is anybody’s guess. The club could also use a backup keeper, a backup left back, and perhaps a right-footed centerback if you’re not sold on Rob Holding or Calum Chambers being that guy.
The Gunners could also do with shifting away some of the bloat on the roster. They have already loaned out Sead Kolasinac. Mesut Ozil and Sokratis have been heavily linked with moves away from the Emirates. Shkodran Mustafi is another guy who could and probably should be on his way out. I’d love to see the back of Cedric Soares and Willian, but that’s highly unlikely.
The club also has a decision to make on Alexandre Lacazette’s long-term future, although I think that piece of business will wait until the summer. Speaking of the future, the club has already loaned William Saliba to Nice and will probably make a few more loan moves to guarantee playing time for some younger players — Reiss Nelson is the first player that comes to mind.
It’ll be an interesting window for Edu, Mikel Arteta, and the Arsenal front office. Here’s hoping they get it right.