How did Arsenal’s January transfer window play out?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made two signings in the January transfer window.
What was good?
Signing a defender was important for Arsenal, and they did just that by bringing in the 24-year-old Paulista.
The centre-back was a key player for Villarreal and is very good indeed. Perhaps the former Vitoria star will not immediately settle into the Premier League, but he does provide a long-term solution to the Gunners’ problem in defence.
Bielik does not have much top-flight experience, but the youngster is believed to be talented and could prove to be a very good signing in the long run.
What was bad?
Nothing. The January transfer window is not the best time to shop for top players, but Wenger did well to sign a capable centre-back.
Arsenal fans have long wanted the Frenchman to recruit a defensive midfielder, but given Francis Coquelin’s recent form, there was no need to do so.
Challenges for the summer?
Arsenal have a very good squad and would probably be doing better than they are doing at the moment in terms of results if they had not had so many injuries.
The Gunners do have numbers and quality in each and every department, including defensive midfield.
While Coquelin’s recent run of brilliant form should not be taken for granted, the injured Jack Wilshere could be deployed in defensive midfield when he eventually returns.
The England international midfielder was being played in that position before he suffered an ankle injury in November.
Impact on Tottenham Hotspur
Wenger has suggested that new signing Paulista could feature against Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby today.
"Gabriel can start,” The Daily Star quotes the Frenchman as saying. “At the moment he’s ready to start, he’s just not used to playing in our back four and he hasn’t mastered the language at all. He's physically ready.”
If Paulista does start, then Tottenham could be looking to take advantage of his inexperience in the Premier League.
It takes time for a defender to understand and build connections with his teammates on the pitch, and the Arsenal signing has not had time to do that yet.
This means that the centre-back could make mistakes, and that is going to hand Tottenham chances. Chances could lead to goals and goals could lead to a win, and a win will be a massive in terms of finishing in the top four.