Whilst Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday highlighted the desperate need for manager Arsene Wenger to bring in some quality options, the Frenchman is wise to wait until the end of the window.
Everyone in football accepts that the January transfer window is not the best time to do the bulk of transfer business – the summer is when the majority of moves come to fruition and there are very good reasons for that being the case.
Firstly, clubs are reluctant to let quality players go in the winter window, especially on the cheap. The best bargains are to found where players have entered the final 6 months of their contracts, especially at clubs that are experiencing some financial difficulties.
On top of that, transfer fees tend to be inflated in January, mostly for the reasons stated above. However, as the window draws to a close, panic starts to set in, much the same way as it does on the high streets on Christmas Eve – have we got enough crackers and what about a vegetarian option for Auntie Lesley?
The last 48 hours of the window is when teams who have been trying to shift their surplus players realize they need to offload to a suitor club in a first come, first served fashion and, subsequently, their willingness to take a hit on the price means there is some room for manoeuvre when it comes to the transfer fees.
Andrey Arshavin’s deadline day move back in January 2008 was, whilst being £15 million, a great signing for Wenger. Although he’s fallen from grace and down the pecking order in the last couple of years, he was one of the most exciting players in the Premier League in his first couple of seasons.
At the time, £15 million for a quality and experienced international shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or was money well spent. In just 15 appearances that season, he notched up 6 goals and 9 assists for the Gunners.
Whilst Arsenal fans are understandably tearing their greying hair out after Sunday’s display, Wenger insisted he would bring in some quality (one or two additions) after the club had sorted out Theo Walcott’s contract. Now that his future has been resolved, I would expect the next 10 days to give Gunners fans some reasons to be cheerful.
Whether the rumours about Adrian Lopez, Yoann Gourcuff, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, David Villa, Wilfried Zaha, and Mohamed Diame are just rumours or whether they are based in truth, I would expect at least one of those names to be brought in very soon.
No one really knows what goes on behind the scenes but I think the manager knows better than anyone; he has to bring in some quality. And I believe he will. Better late than never.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald