We’ve seen many things reversed during Mikel Arteta’s reign at Arsenal, the most obvious being the usual financial caution in the transfer market but he may need to ignore some other more established rules during the January transfer window to continue the progress that has been made thus far.
The next unwritten rule is the January transfer window which is normally considered only in the case of dire emergencies and even then, Arsenal have put Scrooge to shame often, making him look wasteful and frivolous.
Yet, Arsenal need to strengthen again and with the African Cup of Nations certain to put a strain on their available resources, Arteta and Edu will need to invest in key areas via the window or raid the academy at the business end of the season.
From January onwards, it’s a time of consolidation in the Premier League, a time to keep momentum and to drop as few points as possible during the run-in. It’s another test of Arsenal’s intentions and ambition, a stick or twist period where they go for broke by reinforcing or by just eking out the remainder of the campaign in favour of summer spend.
Here’s the problem with that second scenario, the Gunners are light in midfield. Yes, there are the likes of the experienced and overzealous Granit Xhaka who will return sooner rather than later, the inconsistent Maitland-Niles and the unproven Lokonga who will hardly terrify the opposition.
Odegaard is yet to get a run that befits his outstanding talent, but he also needs a player to relieve the creative burden. A technically gifted and explosive force to help form a partnership such as the emerging duo of White and Gabriel in defence.
However, goals are an issue at the top and I’m sorry to have to say that it’s time for Aubameyang to leave North London. Likewise, for Lacazette, who has recently shown fire in his belly and added some spice to the proceedings but between the two strikers, goals are in short supply and Aubameyang’s inconsistent performances make the quest for a genuine goal threat increasingly urgent.
Pepe seems to be marginalised and heading out of the Emirates, Balogun is likely to go out on loan and Martinelli has somehow managed to go backwards since his dramatic introduction to the Premier League when Jurgen Klopp showered him with praise. But for injuries, the Brazilian may have already claimed his place in the side.
No one can say the Arteta era has been easy, with so much neglect over so many years and with so many round pegs in square holes. This squad will continue to morph over the next two seasons and only then, will we see an Arteta side capable of making a dent in the Premier League, but in the meantime, more money has to be spent.
Perhaps, the biggest problem is the willingness of other clubs to sell during a crucial period of the season, no one is willing to let key players leave without finding the appropriate cover and Arsenal may have to lower their sights via a scouting network to get the necessary quality.
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Who wouldn’t like Renato Sanches, Alexander Isak, Franck Kessie, Erling Haaland, Dennis Zakaria or Adams, but what are the chances of getting one, let alone two of those thoroughbreds. Yet, that’s exactly what’s required.
Another name in the frame to ease Arsenal’s goal problems is Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla, who is a sharp-looking, quick thinking predator along the lines of Ian Wright and at around £36m, he is as good and as cheap an option as you are likely to find. Plus, he’s not Ollie Watkins or Calvert-Lewin, which is a massive plus.
It will be interesting to see what transpires at the North London club, but failure to reinforce in the January transfer window could lead to massive consequences for Arsenal.