Arsenal’s January transfer window rated and slated
We have now reached the end of a pretty busy transfer window for Arsenal. There were a few signings made, however most of the attention was clearly on getting rid of the so-called ‘deadwood’. Sokratis, Ozil, Mustafi and Kolasinac, none of whom were getting any game time under Arteta, all left the club. Let’s take a look at how we would rate Arsenal’s transfer window.
DEPARTURES – A* (Sokratis – terminated, Ozil – permanent, Mustafi – permanent, Kolasinac – loan until contract expiry, Willock – short term loan, Maitland-Niles – short term loan)
For years fans have been talking about clearing out the deadwood. This means getting rid of the players who aren’t really playing or bringing much to the team for one reason or another. Until now, the board simply hasn’t seemed cutthroat enough to do so. Normally, players would leave us on their own terms. For example, the way Sanchez and Ramsey turned down new deals to leave for cheap. Finally, we have a system in place which has managed to achieve this. I don’t want to disrespect anything that these players have done for Arsenal over the years, but most of them have simply reached an age where they aren’t likely to make a long term impact at the club. Hopefully, with so much wage space freed up, we can see some real spending in the summer. Meanwhile, with Willock and Maitland-Niles, it’s clear that they have shown promise. However, they haven’t been getting too much game time this season. They need consistent games at a Premier League club, to start building up experience and consistency. Then either next year or in a couple of years, they can be far better assets to Arsenal.
INCOMINGS – B (Omar Rekik – permanent, Maty Ryan – short term loan, Martin Odegaard – short term loan)
I am cutting Edu and Arteta some slack in this department, because I think every January is hard to bring players in (especially one in the middle of a pandemic). Any expectations of us signing Aouar or Buendia were perhaps never terribly realistic with both transfers likely to cost north of £40 million each. Omar Rekik seems like a very promising young CB. Maty Ryan is a proven Premier League goalkeeper who can provide dependable back up for Leno. And Martin Odegaard can help to alleviate the creative burden currently carried out by Saka and Smith Rowe. Fingers crossed we can make Odegaard’s move a permanent one.
There were two disappointing aspects of this window from this department though. Firstly, we missed out on Szoboszlai. I think he is a generational talent and was available for only £25 million. Unfortunately, the Hungarian playmaker chose Leipzig. The other disappointment was being unable to get a deal for a LB over the line. We were interested in a number of LB’s including Bertrand and Van Aanholt, clearly recognising that he need a natural understudy to Tierney. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done and instead will have to rely on Cedric to fill in when necessary (which in fairness he has been doing well so far)
OVERALL GRADE – A
Certainly not a perfect window but I think a really good one considering the circumstances. I look at it as a facilitating window. It may not completely turn our season around, however, we have significantly trimmed our squad and wage bill without actually weakening our squad. It puts us in good stead to have a transformative summer transfer window to help start creating a side that can compete consistently for trophies over the next few seasons.
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