As we approach effectively the halfway point in this crucial January transfer window, I thought I would provide a general update on where we are in terms of players linked to come in, and players linked with a move away.
Mesut Ozil: Mesut appears to be fairly likely to leave this January as Fenerbahce are close to agreeing a deal with him. It is still nothing certain, as they are yet to reach an agreement. However, it is looking like one will be made. The Athletic recently confirmed Mesut will waive his remaining Arsenal wages.
Sokratis: Has been linked with a move to many clubs. Many have shown interest. Arsenal definitely want to get rid therefore it is looking like the player’s decision. The most likely destinations seem to be again Fenerbahce or either Genoa or Real Betis.
Mustafi: There had been rumours linking him with a move to Barcelona, however we have heard no updates on this since late December. Arteta said yesterday that his future ‘right now’ is with Arsenal. However, I think that just means he is waiting for offers for him.
Torreira: Lucas had been linked with a return to Arsenal as his struggles for game time continue at Atletico. Whilst this has not yet been ruled out, it is highly unlikely to happen.
Guendouzi: A similar case with Guendouzi except this one is more certain. It looks like Guendouzi will remain at Hertha Berlin until the summer. At which point, Arteta will readdress the situation and decide whether he sees him as part of his future plans or if he would be willing to sell.
Balogun: Keeping this guy shouldn’t be as difficult as we are making it. He has an abundance of offers elsewhere, where he has received at least some assurance of some game time. However, the player loves Arsenal and will commit his long term future to us if we can start committing for first team opportunities to him. The way I see it, stylistically he is fairly similar to Lacazette so let’s give him a season as his understudy playing in the cup games etc. Then who knows, he may even be ready to replace Lacazette entirely without us going into the market.
Bissouma: Arteta and Edu are thought to be huge fans of the Brighton holding midfielder. They see him as a guy who can be used more as an out and out number 6, with partey a box to box option next to him. However, for now they are happy with the likes of Xhaka and Elneny for this job and don’t see signing him as a priority until the summer.
Lamptey: Another Brighton boy linked with a move to Arsenal. This is unlikely to happen in January unless Barcelona suddenly reignite their interest in Bellerin. In all likelihood it is another deal likely to wait until the summer.
Aouar: The news around Arteta’s top target has slowed down a bit in the last couple of months. Effectively, the situation remains the same. The player would like the move, but won’t force his way out of his boyhood club. And despite money issues, Lyon won’t be forced to selling him on the cheap. Whenever this deal would get done, it would require Arsenal to meet that same £54 million valuation. Something which seems hardly possible in January, though perhaps in the summer a move is more viable once certain contracts are expired and players are out of the club.
Buendia: This is a much more realistic guy to potentially be signed this window. We have had some preliminary contact with the player and the club as well. However, this one is still in its very early stages. My understanding is that so far, Arteta is focusing on reducing the squad size and the wage bill before moving on any of his targets. Arsenal want to do business at £25 million but Norwich are holding out for £40 million so there will be negotiation to be done.
Brandt: The Dortmund chief was recently very skeptical about a transfer regarding Brandt. Apparently they have a £25 million valuation of Brandt, though according to the Dortmund chief he isn’t close to a move anywhere. It is perhaps the case again that Arsenal are waiting to get rid of certain players before moving on any of this main targets.
Sabitzer: A deal for this guy would be very difficult to achieve and is one which would only happen if Kroenke steps in like he did for the Partey deal. Leipzig want around £45 million for the playmaker, despite him having 18 months left on his contract. However, Arsenal’s interest is genuine. Again, Arsenal will probably look at him again in the summer with just 12 months left on his deal and see if they can get him any cheaper. I cannot see Arsenal paying £45 million for Sabitzer when they could spend about £10 million more to sign Aouar, who is Arteta’s dream signing.
Manor Solomon: This is a very new rumour linking us with the Shakhtar Donetsk winger. However, again this one doesn’t seem likely to happen in January with Arteta not viewing his wide positions as a priority.
Edouard: Arsenal have actually never lost interest in Odsonne Edouard of Celtic. They still think he is an option to one day replace Aubameyang and Lacazette. However, we are currently fairly overloaded in that position with the likes of Auba, Laca, Nketiah, Martinelli and Balogun all able to play that position. A move for Edouard is only likely once one of Auba or Laca leave the club.
Patson Daka: Same situation as Edouard above. Arsenal still interested, but it won’t be acted on until necessary.
All in all, Arsenal will struggle to bring an abundance of players into the club. However, the one I would say is most likely and perhaps most exciting is Buendia. It appears Arsenal are very aware of his versatility, and therefore signing him is like signing two midfielders really. He can operate deep or further forward or even out wide. He is comfortable on both and has proven Premier League credentials. It is seen as a far less risky move than bringing in players from abroad, for a massive premium, who won’t have a preseason to get adjusted. Moves for these players will be more likely in the summer.
We forget as well that having Partey and Martinelli finally back in the side after getting used to them never being fit, wil feel like 2 new signings. Therefore, I think signing Buendia would be enough this January to help us on our run in and get us into the European positions (and hopefully deep in the FA cup and Europa League). However, Arsenal will need a huge summer and some major help from Kroenke to get the squad entirely up to the level Arteta wants it to be at.
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