It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, unless you’re a soccer coach or athletic director. The January transfer window is just under a month away from opening – but what role will Arsenal play in all of this?
Mikel Arteta and Edu head the Gunners’ transfer committee, the latter revealing this summer that “everything football-related” will come through with Raul Sanllehi’s departure in August.
“It’s important to be clear,” Edu said in September.
“What I would like from now on is for everything football related to go through me. All contacts, if the agents want to talk to the player, internally, externally, outsiders have to see me – and my name – like the first to call or connect.
“Of course we have a lot of people involved, but I just want to be clear, people outside of Arsenal need to understand who they need to connect with about football.
They secured Thomas Partey’s signature on deadline day in October, but failed to secure over-the-line starts for a number of first-team fringe players including Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac .
However, with the window opening in less than a month and COVID-19 restrictions starting to ease across Europe, the viability of completing transfers in January is starting to look possible.
Let’s take a look at the potential entries and exits at Arsenal.
Like most clubs, Arsenal have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim Lewis was named a non-executive director this summer and orchestrated a number of cost-cutting measures that resulted in 55 layoffs, as well as a full audit of the club’s finances.
That didn’t stop the Gunners from spending £ 45million on Thomas Partey on transfer deadline day as they also launched a bid of around £ 30million for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar several weeks ago. The finances are certainly there and the Kroenke family are well aware that investments will be needed, especially this summer, if Arsenal are to progress and return to play alongside the European elite.
Targets have already been set for the summer and Arsenal are probing potential signing intermediaries as they seek to strengthen the squad in several positions. Arteta’s admission that he needs at least “5 or 6 players” to fit into the 4-3-3 formation he wants to deploy confirms that the club will be active in the next two windows transfer.
Dominik Szoboszlai’s pursuit is no secret and the Red Bull Salzburg star remains high on Arsenal’s wishlist, despite facing stiff competition from clubs across Europe. for the signature of the Hungarian. He has a £ 25million clause which is no obstacle for the Gunners, but football.london understands that they are also exploring more experienced options to fill the creative void that has been talked about throughout the season so far.
Szoboszlai’s agent Matyas Esterhazy is in regular contact with interested sides and it is understood that Red Bull Leipzig are the favorites to sign the 20-year-old as it stands. The childhood Real Madrid fan has yet to decide where he wants to play, but a January exit looks almost certain.
Christian Eriksen was offered to Arsenal by intermediaries working on behalf of the Danish midfielder. There have been rumors of a swap deal with Granit Xhaka, although football.london understands that Arteta is unlikely to accept such an offer. Eriksen, a former Tottenham player, is appreciated by both Arteta and Edu with his Premier League experience seen as a plus, but no formal approach has been made yet.
Norwich City midfielder Emi Buendia is another player on Arsenal’s shortlist as they look to bolster their creative midfielder with a player who was among the Premier League’s top five creators last season . The Argentine has the same representatives as former Gunners goalkeeper Emi Martinez and football.london Understand that no approach has yet been made for the 23-year-old, he is likely to be the subject of great interest in January.
Defensive goals are also under consideration for the summer, with RB Leipzi’s Ibrahima Konate scrutinized in the last few months, while there are high hopes for Dinos Mavropanos who will return from his loan with Stuttgart at the end of the season.
As first revealed by football.london, Shkodran Mustafi wants to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.
The Germany international is unlikely to leave in January when he can get a bigger signing fee this summer, but has already garnered interest from teams in Germany, Italy and Spain.
William Saliba is expected to return on loan to St Etienne, the club from which he joined Arsenal, after his return to the French side was broken on the day of the transfer deadline.
The £ 28million signing has not played for the first team this season and Arteta has explained the reasoning behind it as the 19-year-old is in a ‘year of transition’.
Greece defender Sokratis was also set to leave on the deadline day and will re-assess his options in January, with Napoli showing serious interest in the center over the summer.
Sead Kolasinac’s transfer to Bayer Leverkusen fell through on deadline day after he failed to strike a deal with the Bundesliga, but that transfer could be reviewed in January as the Bosnian wants to return to Germany.