Arsenal fans will almost certainly look back on the January transfer window as yet another squandered opportunity to bolster the squad.
A period of false hopes and false dawns that seem to be part and parcel of being a Gooner. It’s as frustrating as it is farcical that a club of Arsenal’s stature refuse to compete in the transfer market because of funds.
With just a handful of days, until the window closes, it appears the club are no nearer to making any additional signings despite feverish media speculation. The Mkhitaryan swap deal could be viewed as a good piece of business for both clubs but it could also be seen as more evidence that the North London club are reluctant to spend on players.
Mkhitaryan is a fabulous player and is a superb addition to the club but if Mourinho wasn’t so indifferent towards the player and hadn’t been so desperate to poke Pep Guardiola in the eye by acquiring Sanchez, would the club stumped up the cash for the Armenian?
The answer is probably not, Arsenal are a club with a financial blueprint that will not be compromised regardless of necessity. At least the deal with Manchester United spared the club the embarrassment of losing another key player and ending up with nothing in return.
Mkhitaryan’s arrival may also signal the end of Cazorla’s career after a long battle to overcome serious injury but the Spaniard, manager and club will not confirm this until later this year.
There have been links to a handful of highly regarded players including Aubameyang but unless the board are willing to push on and put their money where their mouths are, it will be yet another deal that was never really on.
It’s all a bit like the Suarez situation, a token bid with no real intent. With Wenger unwilling to sell or loan Giroud, he can easily cite this as the main stumbling block but the fans know that the manager does not have enough support to clinch the deals he wants.
The smoke and mirrors performance of Gazidis was just to pacify and placate supporters but the desire to make it happen was curiously absent. Wenger has one more year of his contract extension and the uncertainty at the Emirates regarding the managerial position means that the club are reluctant to sign off any more major acquisitions whilst Wenger’s own future is in doubt.
More may happen in the summer but that will depend on the departure of players like Bellerin, who rumour has it, wants to move on. His sale will be close to £40+ million and will endorse my earlier claim that Wenger has to balance the books to buy.
Wenger is reportedly on the lookout for players that will cost no more than £30 million, exactly the sum of the combined sales of Walcott and Coquelin. This would effectively close the door on the Jonny Evans deal, which will resume in the summer if WBA are relegated and the players asking price drops significantly as a result.
Fan pressure may yet come in to play and force the club into action but it seems unlikely. Aubameyang’s price is reported to be £60 million and although the club broke its transfer record to purchase Lacazette, it’s not in a hurry to notch up another record.
Aubameyang may yet prove to be the key in this whole saga, if Dortmund feel that he lacks focus and commitment, they may lower the asking price to £55 or £56 million, which may, in turn, convince the club to spend but Dortmund are firmly in the driving seat on this deal.
Wenger promotes secrecy in terms of transfer activity but this could be perceived as just another way of disguising the fact that his search is at an end and that the club are happy to plod on in the hope that things turn around.
If Arsenal were to finish in the top four, which is becoming increasingly unlikely. If they were to win both the Europa league and Carabao cup, it still wouldn’t make up for the fact that another Premier League campaign ended prematurely and that the club failed to qualify for the Champions League. If only the club had the same ambition as its fans.
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