Sublime piece of business in January transfer window by Konstantin Mitov
Well lovely Arsenal people, if you told me that this transfer window we would get rid of Kolasinac, Mustafi, Ozil and Sokratis, I would’ve laughed out loud. If you told me 3 of the 4 players would leave on a permanent deal, I would’ve asked in what dreamland are you living?
But hats off to Edu and the team who managed to pull this off. This is like 350k for Ozil, 150 on Kolasinac, 100 on Mustafi, 90 on Sokratis, amounting to nearly 700k a week off our wage bill. Numbers are relative and based on what you read, but I don’t think they are too far off the truth. Especially after the leaking of Messi’s contract, it’s just incredible what footballers make these days. My point is that with that money off, we can have a little bigger budget to operate with in next transfer window and with the reduction of the deadwood, we can actually start upgrading certain positions!
Anyway we’ve also offloaded Maitland-Niles, which is kind of sad, as he’s a player that can be very handy in different positions, but truthfully, he never nailed down a place in one position and his desire to play regular football means a loan at WBA. It is a difficult task there, trying to survive so hard you call upon Sam Allardyce, but it’s also a good place to mould. I’m just not sure Ainsley can force himself into a regular spot at Arsenal unless he does exceptionally well at a fixed position like CM or RB.
Another player leaving on loan is Joe Willock who will join Newcastle. I had high hopes for Joe, but he had quite a few chances, going back to the end of the Wenger days and he never really took them. I think he has all the physical attributes, but the end product is missing and when you compare what Smith-Rowe has done in less than 10 games, I think Joe will find it hard to break into this position again for us.
This window we also signed 2 players on loan. Backup goalkeeper Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard who had the footballing world gawking at him since age 16. Both cover positions that need backup and both don’t cost a lot and make perfect sense.
What would’ve made this window the perfect one is if we’d managed to get a Ryan Bertrand or Patrick Van Aanholt to cover for left back with the problems Tierney is having, but we couldn’t pull a deal and that shouldn’t take away from the fantastic job we did. Our squad was huge, and our wage bill still is. I truly hope Willian and Aubameyang boarded the last train on the Arsenal Charity ride. I don’t think we’ll spend money so carelessly on wages again, especially after we saw how the hunger and desire from academy players managed to lift our slump.
By the way, if we win at Wolves, we move up to 6th place! True it will only be for a couple of hours and teams above and around us have a game or two in hand, but hey, it wouldn’t hurt my eyes to see us in the top 6 again for a moment. In the state the league is in, if you put a run of 3-4 wins in a row, you can climb a few positions. We play Wolves and Villa next, teams who, despite how well they’ve done, are ones we should be beating if we want to find a route to Europe through the league.
I still don’t think a run of 7 games unbeaten is enough to convince me we’ve actually turned a corner and we’ve suddenly become a winning machine, but combining recent results, with recent departures and incomings, this is the best we’ve looked in terms of prospects for the future in at least 5 years. Now we just have to prove it on the pitch.