January is a big month for Arsenal.
Between then and now there are matches galore to contend with first, a series of fixtures which won’t alter the needs of the winter window, but if prove fruitful, could turn the tide on what Arsenal may be capable of achieving.
Sitting there, in plain sight, are Arsenal’s problems. No need to expert analysis or years of watching football to realise them. They slap you across the face.
Mikel Arteta has nearly exhausted all available options to him in the bid to boost his side’s creativity, with only academy graduates left to be called upon. Nothing suggests the likes of Emile Smith Rowe can’t provide a spark, but he’s a one man army in that respect, and inexperienced one at that.
Dominik Szoboszlai‘s name won’t leave the headlines. He’s the main man on Arsenal’s wishlist, and available at a snip for £23m. Beating the rest of Europa for his signature is the hold-up, not to mention the exceedingly repellent 14th place position Arsenal occupy in the Premier League table.
Regardless of who Arteta wants, Edu Gaspar has his full backing. These are the words of Ian McGarry on the Transfer Window Podcast, who said a creative midfielder is one of two positions the Gunners are after.
"“It’s our information that Edu is backing Arteta to the hilt during meetings with club administers.“He has said firmly that he believes Arteta is still the right man for the club.“Indeed, Edu has been looking at recruitment in January in the form of a right-sided centre-back and a creative midfielder.”"
The pursuit of a right-sided centre-back indicates two occurrences. Firstly, a loan departure for William Saliba in January feels almost inevitable; and, that whoever the defender Arsenal are after is can’t wait until the summer.
With five other right-sided central defenders at the club – David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Sokratis and Calum Chambers – the need for more numbers could suggest departures are on the horizon.
Or, as mentioned, the one they’re after (if there is one in mind) is an urgent matter. Bringing someone to north London in January may also be with an eye on softening the level of clear out expected in the summer.
Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz‘s deals all run out in the summer, while Chambers will have one year left at that point.