Will January be the season-defining transfer window for Arsenal and Manchester United?

Time And Money

As both Arsenal and United continue to struggle to bring in new signings this summer, could that all change in January?

Every day for what seems like an age, transfer speculation has filled our newspapers and our search engines.

But in just over two weeks, the headlines will change from speculative to analytical, and clubs will have to make do with what they have…at least until January.

While a team’s campaign is often defined by their success or failure in the summer sales, this year suggests it may actually be the winter ones that play the most significant part, at least for some.

As the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal continue to pursue seemingly impossible targets, and Chelsea appear reluctant to move for any striker other than Wayne Rooney, they lurch ever closer to September with little more than last season’s personnel.

In the case of Chelsea that is not wholly accurate. While they wait to add to a front-line in need of rejuvenation, they have made some astute signings in three crucial areas of the pitch.

Arsenal and United, on the other hand, have made moves more for the future than the present; and limited ones at that.

Both Arsene Wenger and David Moyes will soon have a decision to make. Do they sign for the sake of signing, or do they wait and hope last season’s team can challenge this season’s reinforced rivals?

Wenger has previous with late moves for the likes of Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Thomas Eisfeld – signings with varying degrees of success.

Similarly Moyes has made deadline day moves for Royston Drenthe, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic among others.

And yet this season the calibre of player both men seek is unlikely to be found during a final day scramble.

As the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Luis Suarez slip further out of reach, both sets of fans are faced with the very real possibility of a transfer window full of speculation but bereft of action.

Expect plenty of signings to be completed between now and September, but also expect January to be more important than usual.

As much as I am now speculating on future speculation, there is also a sense – certainly with Moyes – that he will not be rushed into anything.

And with the futures of Suarez and Wayne Rooney more short-term possibilities than long-term solutions, they may be just two of the men resting easier knowing January is just around the corner.

Winter signings have their own array of problems – most notably cup-tied players and campaigns only half-complete. And yet with the new season just days away, business once swift has proved anything but.

The clubs below the so-called elite have, in most cases, moved quickly and effectively; while Manchester City have bolstered an already impressive squad. But those expected to join them at the head of the table continue to flounder, potentially turning a transfer window often thought of as a month of panic-buys into one in which the mistakes of a faltering summer may be rectified.

Do you think the clubs will still complete effective business this summer...or will they have to wait until January and possibly beyond?

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch