Even though Arsenal has been through a difficult period recently, it was their efforts, or lack thereof, during the mid-season transfer window that had many wondering precisely what the club was up to. Despite the clear need to enhance the roster, just one player was added. That player is Auston Trusty from the Colorado Rapids of the Major League Soccer (MLS) league. Meanwhile, Matt Turner, the New England Revolution will be available for selection later in the summer.
Arsenal needed reinforcements to sustain their top-four challenge. Their squad was already depleted. Despite that, there was no major signing made.
A cardinal sin committed by Arsenal could hurt the club long-term
Arsenal surprisingly had a quiet January transfer window. Edu and Arteta failed to get any new acquisitions. Aubameyang has left the club for FC Barcelona. They allowed numerous players to depart and did not bring in replacements to fill the void. As a consequence, Mikel Arteta will have a total of 21 senior players to choose from for the second half of the season, three of whom will be goalkeepers, according to the official count.
That is a concerning figure to contemplate. In the event of multiple injuries or even a Covid outbreak, all the hard work the club has put in to pull itself out of financial ruin could be wasted. That is something Edu and co. want to avoid now. This is the reason they are trying to balance the books.
During the month of January, Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Roma), Folarin Balogun (Middlesbrough), Sead Kolasinac (Marseille), Pablo Mari (Udinese), Calum Chambers (Aston Villa) and former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona) left. The club did not buy a single player to take their places. The departure of the previous captain is the most difficult to forgive and forget.
What will be the impact of players moving away on loan?
Arteta and Edu attempted to recruit players but were eventually unsuccessful. Dusan Vlahovic is now with Juventus. Arthur, who is also currently with Juventus was among the two most notable names associated with the club. But the Gunners were unable to clinch the deal for either.
A fresh addition failed to provide a timely jolt of energy to the squad. They are already displaying symptoms of exhaustion as the month of January has arrived. It is a huge risk to cut the roster anymore when it has been evident for some time, particularly during the January period, that the club cannot afford another series of absences. While it is generally difficult to close transactions in the middle of the season, Arteta and Edu were well aware that this was always going to be the case.
There is sympathy for Arsenal’s recruiting staff since the club’s other top four opponents have only made one permanent move between them, indicating that it is not a simple matter of acting early and crossing all of the i’s and crossing all of the t’s in the recruitment process. Despite this, the club has received a great deal of negative feedback for its lack of participation.
This group has shown itself capable of competing against the best in the nation. There are very few if any options to fall back on, with the squad being really shallow. The hopes of Champions League qualification have been jeopardised as a result of this. Arteta and his team have taken a significant risk.
There is, however, one significant good to take away from Arsenal’s January transfer window.
Despite a disappointingly quiet transfer window, one positive development has happened now. Arsenal has significantly reduced its enormous wage bill: nearly £640k per week in total. It will equate to around £10m-£15m by next June. A £7m lumpsum payment to the former captain still needs to be paid.
The removal of Aubameyang’s wages is beneficial for the club The 32-year-transfer old’s fee is still £20m short of what he would have earned over the course of his contract. However, the lack of options throughout the squad remains unchanged as a result of the move.
Arsenal’s only fixtures will be in the Premier League. They will not be participating in any European tournaments or cup competitions (post-elimination) this season. Instead of being burdened with midweek games due to European football or the FA Cup, the Gunners will be resting at home. They will get time to recharge their batteries for this crucial period of the season.
But since the league is now their entire focus, there is little room for mistakes. Players need to play each game to the best of their ability. Arsenal can’t afford to lose any more points.
The fans will remember Arsenal’s transfer window either as a stroke of brilliance or as a complete and total catastrophe in the years to come. If they finish in the top four, the team will be ready to do business with Champions League money. It is an intriguing project and there are several holes to fill. If the club fails, this missed opportunity will haunt them. The chance to spend while the team has a legitimate chance to finish in the top four will be remembered as one of the most costly blunders in recent memory.