A January Transfer Window That Can be Considered ALMOST Perfect by Arsenal
By Rob Worthington (Senior Writer)
At the time of writing this article, Arsenal have let go 4 players and brought in 2. The rumour mill would suggest a further 3 will leave the club before tonight’s deadline. It’s been an efficiently ruthless transfer window from Arsenal’s Technical Director, Edu, and his colleagues.
In terms of outgoings, forcing Mesut Özil out the door thus prohibiting him from running down his contract marked the end of a saga which everyone is glad is now over. Furthermore, the club have finally been relieved of Sokratis’ and Kolasinac’s expensive wages after their respective exits. William Saliba has also moved back to France for six months to continue his development with OGC Nice.
With regard to the yet to be confirmed outgoings, it seems Shkodran Mustafi will leave in a similar vein to the aforementioned Özil and Sokratis as he looks set to join up with Kolasinac at Schalke following a contract termination. Meanwhile, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to join West Brom and Joe Willock will move to Newcastle, both reportedly on six-month loan deals.
Of course, with regard to Özil, Sokratis, and Mustafi, the caveat must be provided that they were practically paid to leave, but the merciless nature of their exits must be praised. Edu laid down the law. These are players Arsenal have been trying to shift for a while and it looks like Arsenal’s transfer committee agreed that these players would leave by whatever means possible this winter. A proper clear out.
Elsewhere, Arsenal have performed well in the market concerning incomings. Maty Ryan has joined the club as a temporary understudy for Bernd Leno. Then, of course, the marquee signing of the window, Martin Ødegaard joined from Real Madrid on loan. It’s believed Arsenal will sit down with Real Madrid in the Summer to discuss whether further developments can be made regarding Ødegaard.
A superb window… But not perfect.
Unfortunately, there are two quite obvious snags for Arsenal. Firstly, regarding a left-back.
Arsenal’s failure to bring in a natural left-back as an understudy for Kieran Tierney isn’t a disastrous move, but it’s certainly a risky one. To have Tierney as the squad’s only orthodox left-back, a Tierney who has been pretty injury prone lately, isn’t particularly reassuring.
Çedric has proved he can do a shift at left-back, but the idea of him playing there over an extended period if Tierney were to suffer a long-term blow is worry-inducing to say the least. It’s frustrating that the club didn’t do more to try and bring in one of Tyrick Mitchell, Patrick Van Aanholt or Ryan Bertrand who all boast a homegrown status and are all more importantly out of contract in the Summer.
As for outgoings, two players stick out like sore thumbs. Reiss Nelson and Runar Alex Runarsson. Mikel Arteta and co. have done well to streamline the squad but the aforesaid pair will likely get very little playing time for the remainder of the season. Fortunately for Arsenal, neither player is known to be a bad egg, so they’ll likely not kick up too much of a fuss. All the bad eggs appear to have been cracked.
With regard to Nelson, the fact we’ve failed to secure a loan move for him is particularly worrying. The player is full of talent, but he seems to have got to a point in his career where he needs to be playing regular men’s football to progress. Given his undoubted ability, it’s hard to believe that there weren’t adequate suitors for the Englishman.
Nevertheless, other than those quite significant drawbacks, it’s been a pretty impressive window for Arsenal. The perfect transfer window doesn’t really exist, especially in January, so the club can look back on the 2021 January transfer period with pride. Well done Edu, it’s a 7/10 from me.