Have Arsenal’s creative issues suddenly disappeared?
In spite of the unprecedented times we are experiencing, the relentless turning of the transfer rumour mill has continued unabated into the new year for Arsenal.
As usual, Arsenal have been linked with a myriad of prospective signings, with Spanish international Isco, Borussia Dortmund playmaker Julian Brandt and Norwich star Emi Buendía all recently tipped for moves to the Emirates Stadium. By studying these names, it is clear that acquiring a creator is the Gunners’ top priority.
This will be a very important window for Mikel Arteta and, as the financial implications of COVID-19 tighten their grip on the football world, it is one where he must operate shrewdly. With this in mind, and considering both our squad depth and the meteoric rise of Emile Smith Rowe, do Arsenal still need to sign a creative midfielder this month?
Now, before anyone falls off their chair in disbelief, it is clear that issues regarding midfield creativity have plagued the Gunners over the last few months. From the Premier League’s return after the October international break until December 19th, Arsenal ranked bottom of the division for goals, shooting accuracy and shot conversion rate, and managed just two goals from open play.
Such troubles have intensified speculation that the club are looking to bring in a creator this winter, with Buendía apparently sitting at the top of the list. However, Norwich are expected to demand at least £40m for their prized asset and that could deter our advances in this window.
The current unavailability of our chief transfer target could deal quite a blow to our January plans, but perhaps it will also prompt Arteta to reconsider his options. In the last week, we have seen Smith Rowe make an instant impact in the Premier League, and seemingly integrate well into the first-team, while Willian and Joe Willock have both featured consistently this campaign.
Smith Rowe’s sudden emergence has provided Arsenal with a viable short-term solution to the creative question and, if he can stay fit for the remainder of the season, he could establish himself as first choice in the role.
This prospect, along with the (albeit not great) depth in this position, removes the need to panic buy over the next few weeks, enabling the club to save their funds and secure a long-term creator in the summer.
Looking ahead to what will be a huge second half of the season, the creative crisis seems to have been momentarily averted, with youngsters including Smith Rowe transforming our fortunes. Suddenly the need for some January investment is not so pressing and this may give Arteta the opportunity to bide his time and secure his number one target at a future date.