And ultimately Arsenal decided to sign no-one.
Throughout January we blogged a few times about potential Arsenal transfers. Each blog also contained a viewpoint that we would rather sign no-one then splash the cash on someone we did not really want.
The last 5 or 6 years our transfer dealings have been hampered by having too many players, on too high a wage, that are just not fit for purpose.
You go back to the transfer of Lucas Perez.
In 2016 we missed out on numerous preferred targets – the biggest of which was Jamie Vardy. We ended up signing Perez out of nowhere.
He was never really wanted by anyone at the club but somehow managed to become an Arsenal player signing for a reported £17.1m.
The Spaniard would play just one season for The Arsenal; starting just 2 games in the Premier League.
He would then return to Deportivo on loan for a season before joining West Ham for a reported £4m.
What a waste of money.
I have never been a “spend money for the sake of it” type of fella.
Going into this transfer window we still had a huge squad – we had right backs alone (plus another out on loan).
With just Premier League games to play, we did not need to bring in squad players. We needed those that could come in be better than what we have.
It is why Dusan Vlahovic was our number one target. It was deemed he would be an improvement on Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
We are crying out for a new striker and new midfielder. But any signing has to be better than Lacazette and Aubameyang.
Vlahovic was that. The likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bruno Guimaraes not.
DCL could become an option in the summer, but he would have been a huge risk having played just 3 games since August.
We could have splashed out £60million for him and he broken down with injury again leaving us with a big hole in the budget and still needing a new striker in be summer.
I have also never understood the Guimaraes hype. He has shown nothing for anyone to say he is an improvement on Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal scouts have followed him from before he joining Lyon on 2020. They have turned down numerous opportunities to sign him.
The likes of Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United have also failed to move for him despite all having the money and being desperate for midfield reinforcements.
Guimaraes is the perfect example of what would’ve been a bad January signing.
Not good enough for regular first team football for us. Would have taken £30m+ out of our summer budget whilst still leaving us needing to improve on Xhaka.
In January we were not after squad players. We have just 17 games left this season. We can do that with the squad we have.
Some will point to those who have left and shout “we need to replace them”. But how many games did Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Saed Kolasinac play this season?
The answer is 13 Premier League appearances between them. Just 7 starts.
Yes, not signing a top striker and central midfielder could cost us a top 4 place. But also signing the wrong striker and midfielder would not have guaranteed us top 4 and would’ve cost us £50-100m.
The summer is now key.
If we go out and secure Alex Isak and Youri Tielemans, it would have justified it decision making in January.
Mikel Arteta and Edu strengthen Arsenal by signing better players than we have in our first XI.
We did that with Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Martin Odergaard.
Anyone who has ever employed someone will know how costly it is to hire the wrong person. It is better to wait for the right candidate to come along then panic.
Hiring the wrong person is worse than hiring no one.
Well written, I fully agree
Agree with all that, absolutely spot on. I’m actually quite happy with this transfer window, the clear out continues and another big time Charlie has been bombed out. I see the usual suspects are out there moaning but this will give us the chance to promote a few more academy players, free up a load of the wage bill and really concentrate on adding 2 or 3 top notchers in the summer to improve the first team. Champions league would be massive for us this year but we’ve got to get European football of some sort. Big 17 games coming up now, got to give it everything, starting at Wolves next week. I genuinely believe this club could take off in the next couple of years if we can put a run together between now and the end of the season.
How many striking options would have been “wrong” when your only two strikers are Lacazette (can barely play 60mins without running out of gas, rarely has the legs to get into shooting positions and when he does, he tends to miss) and Eddie (who has never shown any fortitude to be an EPL striker for us, let alone a version that wants top 4)?
I get that wasting money is very bad. I just question whether it would have really been a waste to sign a proven top league striker, even if just a 6 month loan (eg Morata) or a player at the end of their career (eg Carlos)
Morata is a brilliant example of a waste of money, IMO.
He can’t score and is on big wages!
There’s a young striker at Nice, Amine Gouiri, he is someone i would have loved us to go for.
I broadly agree, but for me the big Q is whether Edu was right to spend so long pursuing a dream striker who I never expected to sign for us, or whether he should have settled for someone who was just an improvement on the two we have.
I also question the wisdom of letting Flo go on loan when Laca & Eddie can’t score in a brothel, and AMN go when we’ve been desperately short of decent midfield and RB cover.
I remain an Arteta sceptic.
Top post and I totally agree.
The mantra from alot of Gooners about how we need a midfielder and striker was a great example of media influenced mind manipulation! We WERE crying out for a midfielder while Partey was away (Arteta should never have played him in the league Cup game but there you go!). And yes a striker is needed for the summer, clearly.
But the players we gave were playing brilliantly prior to January and now they’ve been able to have a mini break, they should come back firing.
The lukes of Martinelli will get the game time Gooners have been demanding and as much as I liked Auba, he really did not set a good example and needed to be shipped out.
You can bet your life that if and when we don’t win a game, these decisions will be thrown back in the faces of Edu and Arteta. But then again, the media do that shit all the time, anyway!
In the summer, hopefully after a top 4 finish, we can concentrate our efforts on getting the players that will improve the first 11 and squad.
Of all the departures, I’m only really disappointed about Chambers going. I would have preferred Soares to be sold!
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A very well written piece that totally sums up the correct strategic management of Arsenal that finally seems to be happening. We cannot continue to buy expensive players on long contracts that do not make us any better. I am really pleased that Arteta and Edu are getting rid of all the bad eggs and the squad players to allow us to build from a solid base. We could not attract the players that were good enough, young enough and with the team player attitude that made us any better. I too have made the mistake of panicking and employing somebody that wasn’t quite right and then trying to manage with them for three years. I am sick of listening to people on sky describing how we need to buy and our transition is over now. What rubbish! It takes a long time to undo previous mistakes and then build a new squad with the right culture. I believe that our long term future is in very capable hands and we need to continue through this transition period for a while longer.
Yes, but worse is making a department redundant before you have approval for the new structure.
We have just thrown away any chance of the Champions League, Europa League – even the fecking Conference League.
Our squad is too thin.
Our first team is knackered and Arteta wouldn’t rotate, and now cannot rotate.
The defensive argument isn’t AMN, Mari and Chambers didn’t play much this season. The question is why haven’t they? It’s a squad management failure. And it’s going to cost us.
Arteta just didn’t seem to like Chambers & AMN. I’d far rather play either of them than Soares or Elneny
This knackered squad are currently on a two week warm weather holiday!
We can make top 4, as ling as the players stop the stupid errors… cough! Xhaka! Cough!