As the January transfer window comes closer, the transfer rumors and speculations directly go up with it. SkySports reporter Dharmesh Sheth discussed the topic on the latest episode of the Transfer Window Talk podcast and believes that there might not be any new arrivals at the Emirates Stadium this winter.
Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth has indicated that Arsenal will be willing to spend on January transfers if the right deals become available, speaking on Sky's football transfer podcast.
— LTArsenal™️ (@ltarsenal) December 21, 2018
As the Unai Emery Era continues it would be expected to see changes made in the squad that the Spaniard inherited from Arsene Wenger. However Sheth conjectures that the new gaffer might have to be patient till the next season’s summer transfer window to get additions in his team.
Here’s what he said about Arsenal’s Transfer Window in January,
“You’ve got a situation where Unai Emery is putting it out there that Arsenal are looking for players in January. You can tell that it’s a notoriously difficult to get deals done. I have a feeling that he will be patient and he might wait until the summer.
He got a lot of his business done early in the summer. I think Arsenal’s main focus will be to look towards the summer. The obvious area that they’d be looking at is the defence.
They’ve got so many injuries that players will recover so do they bring in someone just for the short term?”
Corroborating to Sheth’s comments Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi told BBC Sport also had his say on January transfer window earlier this year,
“‘I’m not a strong believer of the winter window, normally it’s used for emergency cases when things are not going the way you planned in the summer window.”
However, anyone who watches the London giants in action can tell that the team desperately needs a center-back if not in this transfer window. With Rob Holding ruled out for the remainder of the season with a cruciate ligament injury, Konstantinos Mavrapanos having been out all season and Laurent Koscielny only just returning from a six-month spell out on the sidelines, it is evident that some fresh legs in center defence would be crucial and something must be done with January transfer window on the cards.
When asked about the defensive crisis and whom Arsenal will bring in this transfer window, The gaffer himself revealed,
“If we can take one player to help us at centre-back, I think it’s a good option. A transfer is not easy and the possibility with Calum Chambers is maybe one option, but I don’t know if we can do that.
Koscielny is coming back and for the team it’s very important he is coming back. Then we are going to wait and see how Mavrapanos is improving with his injuries, because he is also a centre back who can help us. Nacho Monreal and Lichtsteiner can play in this position.
But I prefer to use, if we can, a specific centre-back.”
Arsenal boss Unai Emery admits he’s looking for a center-back in January.
— Vivaro News Sport (@VnewsSport) December 13, 2018
I don’t think it would be prudent or practical to buy a center-back temporarily until the injury crisis is over. With the £ 70 million already spent in the summer, there may not be enough to bring in a quality center-back in this transfer window. Holding, although has been performing good lately is simply not ready to be in the starting XI for an Arsenal side aiming to finish in the top 4.
Shkodran Mustafi has been below par for the Gunners and has lost popularity among fans. However, the squad needs the German at the moment until a better defender is not signed to start along Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Mavropanos is too young and too inexperienced to start akin Holding. This makes it clear that a quality center-half is needed in the team but January transfer window may not be the right time to acquire one.
Emery needs at least a year or two to develop a sturdy defense, As Gary Neville, speaking on Sky Sports rightly explained,
“I think Emery will be thinking two or three transfer windows in, he won’t want to be as influential or as disruptive to the game as he’s having to be right now.”
Arsenal have just 1 fit centre-back —
Holding's injured, Sokratis and Mustafi are banned… and Koscielny only returned from seven months out….but Unai Emery insists he has a masterplan up his sleeve to cope with our defensive crisis. pic.twitter.com/dTru1dibWD
— ARSENAL (@tomgunner14) December 15, 2018
I think playing Mohamed Elneny as a center-back would be an optimal back-up plan to diminish the injury woes. The Egyptian already featured in this role under Wenger and had an impressive performance against the 3-1 victory over Burnley.
Since Calum Chambers cannot be recalled from his loan spell at Fulham due to a no-recall clause in his contract, Lichtsteiner and Elneny are the two favourable short-term solutions to the defensive headaches at The Emirates.