Arsenal are dragging their feet in the transfer window. This has been a problem for the team for a long time: needing fresh faces in the squad, or a high-quality player to help push into a top four spot or higher up, and struggling to deliver.
Yet, when a swift deal needs to be made, the Gunners nickel and dime their way to get the best deal done, often at the expense of the team. This has been the case during this window.
While Mikel Arteta needs bodies in his squad to help make a Premier League top four push, here we sit with precious little time left of the window and Arsenal has yet to make a single transfer other than those heading out. The only player who is close is MLS goalkeeper Matt Turner from New England Revolution. Not exactly the player the club needs right now, which is fine, since he won’t be joining until the summer anyway.
Midfield is as scarce as it can be and the frustration from fans is that the club has had over three weeks to get deals done, along with knowing that Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe were all going to be missing games over the winter. So one would expect the club to have plans in place to get a player(s) to not only account for when those players flew off for international duty, but the years to come as well.
Arsenal urgently need transfer reinforcements with Mikel Arteta’s thin squad only seeing departures sanctioned with no sign of signings
The lack of transfer activity is certainly worrying, especially when the club needed reinforcements, yet with the window due to shut on Monday there is no sign of a midfielder or striker being signed. All the club have managed this month is to move five of the senior group on: Calum Chambers’ departure was the fifth (so far), while Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ loan grows more baffling by the day.
But with Aubameyang and Nketiah nearing the exit door, a centre-forward at the very least has to be acquired.
Dusan Vlahovic was heavily linked as the man to help ease the Gunners’ attacking woes prior to Juventus swooping in, making him another player Arsenal has swung for and missed. Was there a contingency plan in case in the odd chance he said no to the club? Of course Arteta and Edu would have had their eyes on multiple targets, although they could have been used by Fiorentina all along.
With the situation surrounding player management, Arsenal went through all of January winless and was knocked out of two cup competitions. The squad was pushed to breaking point and with the majority of the group still early into their careers, too much was put on them during those four weeks.
The squad was thread-bare with injuries, COVID, and international duty but one can’t help but believe that some of those situations could have, and should have, been avoided. Of course one can’t account for red cards, but one can avoid decisions that stretch the squad. That poor planning ensured Arsenal suffered dearly throughout January.
We have seen this before, however. In 2011, Per Mertesacker, Park Chu-young(!), Arteta himself, Andre Santos, and Yossi Benayoun all arrived on a hasty deadline day. Arsene Wenger panicked in the minds of many as it looked as if he simply took who was available.
Fast forward to today and it has a similar feel. Arsenal needs players, yet no one has come through the Emirates door. Yet. Will there be an influx of players like we saw in 2011? Doubtful. Whether it’s those to plug a hole until the summer or bonafide stars to improve the team, the risk of going through the remainder of the campaign with what they’ve got is considerable.
The club needs to put a stop to this acceptance of being willing go through the motions during transfer windows. This year, sitting on their hands could very well cost Arsenal their season after the team made serious strides to correct the early season stumbles.