Arsenal are tackling the January transfer window in a way many expected, although to an extreme level few could have predicted.
Moving players on was key. The squad is full of individuals who are no longer part of the current project. Passengers who had overstayed their welcome.
With there literally being only 17 matches left in the season the opportunity to trim the squad became more inviting, although to have allowed this volume of players to depart without any replacements coming in is startling.
There is still time to amend that.
Arsenal: 3 explanations for January transfer firesale as Mikel Arteta & Edu sanction multiple player sales without any new signings
As witnessed with numerous deals this month, the mantra of expecting the unexpected rings true. Deals are worked on in stuffy rooms under the cover of darkness, or sometimes on yachts alongside super agents. There are always surprises.
However, the points remains that, as it stands, Arsenal have allowed Calum Chambers, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sead Kolasinac, Folarin Balogun and Pablo Mari to leave the club in some capacity without shaking hands with a new face on their way out.
If the squad was depleted beforehand, it will be diminished by the end. But why, though? This is the approach being taken, and if we’re delving into the reasons why that may be, three explanations come up.
1. Arsenal Are Going to Sign Players Before the Deadline
One of the more obvious explanations for the current firesale is that replacements will be signed before the deadline. Problem solved.
In the case of some positions, namely centre-forward, it is utter insanity to head into the final furlong of the season believing that two-goals-from-open-play Alexandre Lacazette is going to fire you into the top four and play 90 minutes every single game.
That is not to detract from the positive impact he’s had on the team since Aubameyang’s banishment, as not only has he provided a key connective piece in the central axis, he’s also been a model professional and captain. Take away his lack of goals and he’s someone as a supporter you can feel proud to wear the armband.
He’s also incapable of completing matches with regularity. Therefore, La Liga headquarters might be receiving a last minute wad of cash to the tune of £76m their way.
While defenders have not been on the agenda this window, there are only three centre-backs on the books now. If Gabriel gets injured there is only Rob Holding to fill in at left centre-back without having to put one Cedric Soares in the team. Might the club invest there at the last minute?
Midfield, too, could be set for reinforcing. With four central midfielders on the books and the club clearly wanting to add a more technical body in there with the pursuit of Arthur, another late arrival could be on the cards.
As far as explanations go, it’s the one most supporters are hanging their hat on.
Continued on next page…