Rumour has it that a couple of deals that Arsenal were hoping to close in the current transfer window are now at an end. The reason ? The same as every season, the reluctance to cement a permanent deal in January and spend hard cash.
Yes, we are aware that the January transfer window is difficult with hiked valuations and a reluctance of parent clubs to release players at the mid season point. I also get that because of these factors, Arsenal prefer to conduct their transfers in the summer months, which they view as the main transfer window, but there is a genuine need for at least two centre-backs.
Arsenal risk their Premier League status by managing and making do and it’s hard to contemplate that the club will not make additions.
It’s said that Arsenal have already lost out on PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa, who is involved in a swap deal for Juventus’ Mattia De Sciglio. Discussions with Jerome Boateng from Bayern Munich have also ground to a premature halt because of the players wage demands. Additionally it’s said that enquiries for Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake are at a standstill as Arsenal look at other alternatives.
At Chelsea, a wonderful team effort from the gunners ensured a spirited comeback but ignore that for a second, Arsenal aren’t watertight and they have allowed their advantages to slip away because of poor defending, individually and collectively.
The performance of Granit Xhaka as a centre-back couldn’t come at a worse time. The Swiss midfielder applied himself to the foreign role and acquitted himself really well but I just hope that doesn’t mean that the Emirates hierarchy will now decide that they have an alternative full back.
For years now, dating back to the unfortunate second part of the Wenger era, the flaws went unresolved with the club relying heavily on the injury prone Laurent Koscielny. They rushed him back time and time again, only for him to predictably breakdown, resulting in further absences. It’s the Arsenal way, cut corners and buy cheap !
However, there may be a glimmer of hope because Edu appears to have secured the services of Pablo Marí on a permanent deal for £7.5m, although earlier, it was rumoured to be a loan with an option to buy. Flamengo president Rodolfo Landim has reportedly revealed that Arsenal are willing to buy the defender outright, perhaps because of agreeable terms of a two tier payment system.
Other transfer window stories boarder on the plain odd, with Atletico Madrid outcast Thomas Lemar, heavily linked with the Emirates and many think a deal is close, on what terms ? Who knows.
Although the story is extremely persistent, the priority remains at the back and another defender is essential.
There was interest in Coritiba defender Yan Couto, who is an emerging prospect (17) but that would represent a gamble. Yet, he is likely to be relatively cheap, with his current valuation at £1m but that will of course increase with the usual fees and bolts-ons.
Ruben Dias of Benfica, Samuel Umtiti-Barcelona, Willy Boly-Wolves and Dayot Upamecano-RB Leipzig would be seen as serious upgrades but it’s more likely a wish list rather than a reality.
Knowing Arsenal, they will try to stagger towards the end of the season with Sokratis, Mustafi and Holding but compared to those I’ve mentioned, they are second rate. The clocks ticking, can Arsenal add the necessary steel in the January transfer window to propel them up the table ? Wait and see !