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January transfer window – are our hopes too high?

We’re all eagerly awaiting top players in the window.

 

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Will Upemacano arrive from RB Leipzig?

 

We need players. Don’t get me wrong.
But what players will we get?

More to the point, the current window will see us not get the players we need. This may seem pessimistic – but whilst we do need top players we won’t necessarily get the big names or signings that we crave. This doesn’t apply to us – but then Chelsea, Man United, Spurs, Man City, etc. would all be looking for similar deals. And why not? Spurs need players. United certainly does. City needs new defenders, and Chelsea are free to buy after their transfer ban was muted to one window.

With the competition out there, and the fact that we’d face stiff competition for the big names, we maybe should cool our expectations for January.

 

There are also some points that stand out though, namely:

But Auba came…

 

Yes, he did.
But he was unhappy at Dortmund.
And he had some kind of falling out with the club’s CEO/hierarchy.
So we swept in and got our man.
And we’re all glad we did.
He’s our best striker since Henry, without question.

 

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One of Wenger’s last, and best signings.

 

 

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“you wanna come here???” Both Auba and Mkhitaryan came in January 2018.

 

More often than not, it’s players who have been unsettled in some form that join others in the transfer window.

Torres was at a then poor Liverpool side and won the CL with Chelsea.
Arshavin was in the Russian League before he joined Arsenal.
Sanchez left us to join Man United as he wanted to go.
van Dijk had an issue at Southampton in the preceding summer and left in January. I recall Soton was threatening to tap up van Dijk for their approach. It wasn’t until Jan 2018 that they got their man.

 

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Not all Jan window singings work out. Liverpool didn’t get the value they thought when Sir “King” Kenny Dalglish bought Andy Carroll……

 

Carroll left Newcastle for Liverpool in 2011, because Liverpool was doing better at the time and is a bigger club.
Giroud was surplus to requirements at Arsenal and left Chelsea for game time for an ultimately successful World Cup with France. Walcott too wasn’t needed anymore, so went to Everton.

The theme here is that generally speaking, clubs buy or sell in January if they see peak opportunities. And these most likely are unsettled or unhappy players. No club, unless they had to categorically, would sell their top players in the middle of the season. Not with promotion, relegation, trophies, or European competitions to play for.

We have made other Jan signings. Monreal came from Malaga and Elneny from Switzerland. Mkhitaryan was unsettled at United and was a swap with Alexis.

 

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The case here is that Arsenal was an opportunity that Nacho and Elneny couldn’t refuse. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to move to Arsenal, given (with all respect due) Malaga and FC Basel’s status in the game?

So Jan transfers are possible, but generally in mitigating cases.

But we are THE Arsenal, we should leverage our name and money

 

Yes, we can. But why would clubs sell unless they needed to?

We need a centre-back and have been heavily linked with Upamecano.
RB Leipzig incidentally plays our good friends in the CL, and also could win the Bundesliga ahead of bigger clubs like Bayern. Unless Upamecano was truly unhappy at the club, why would they sabotage their title push to sell? I don’t think they will win the CL. But they would want as deep a run as possible to get more money to progress. And Upamecano amongst others is central to this.

 

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Some are saying we should sign Dunk or Maddison. Or Villa’s Grealish. But again, unless they are unhappy, why would Brighton sell? Brighton wishes to maintain itself as a PL club. Yes, Arsenal is far bigger. But unless Dunk was very unhappy at the club, then I don’t see why Potter and company would.

Maddison is above us in the league with Leicester. Yes, we’re a bigger club. But I don’t see why he would leave at this point. Feasibly, he could yet still win a trophy, since they are still in the League Cup semi with Villa. Leicester, despite some recent losses, is still probable for the top four. Are we?

 

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Maddison and Grealish could be good midfield additions for us in the future. But as of now – there is little chance that Villa nor Leicester will sell. They both have much left to play for.

 

As for Villa, they could beat Leicester, win a trophy in their first season back in the PL, and they want to stay up. Selling Grealish to us is suicidal. Arsenal is a bigger club – sans their European Cup no less – but then it’s not all about relative size. It’s about fit and clubs’ willingness to sell.

So if clubs are reluctant to sell, what then?

Sanhelli did say he didn’t like the Jan window, and I can understand why. It’s not really prone to getting ready targets.

So does this mean we shouldn’t sign anybody?
No.
It does mean we should look smartly at players who could fill in if needed.

What’s more, is that other clubs can throw down the “size” label.

Man United is a bigger club than Arsenal. Yes, Arsenal is a global brand like United, but United is just bigger. It’s amongst Real Madrid and Barcelona as the three biggest clubs on Earth. Plus they have more money than we do, despite their recent woes. They would be interested in Maddison or Grealish ideally and could use their money and size to get them. The point is here we would be in for stiff competition in the January window for players.

And with United’s drubbing at Anfield recently, it’s highlighted that they need boosting. And pronto. Both United and Arsenal are poor teams, and big clubs that have lost their way. But their larger size and greater funds would put us at a disadvantage.

Just as much as we can use our name or status as leverage, then other clubs can too. This only complicates matters.

 

Expectations

 

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Mohamed Elneny was a January buy. Whilst still a question mark in terms of his impact, he wasn’t a big name at the time.

In short, we need to stop or lessen hoping for the “big thing” to arrive this month, since I don’t believe it will materialise.
This may be pessimistic.
But a quote our most successful ever manager – “there may not be value in the market” in January. Many derided Wenger for this quote, but then it’s applicable here. We won’t see £50m plus deals from our club unless we can use our due diligence to tap up and sound out the unhappy or the unsettled.

Most of our January signings have been opportunistic, or relatively smaller signings that were available at the time.
They were not big names who were statement buys.

Getting Aubameyang from Dortmund is a one-off – and won’t be the norm for a while to come.

If we can sign a Monreal-esque player, albeit a centre-back and not a left-back like Nacho, this may have to do for this month’s window.

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