The friendly defeat to Juventus had many people saying that shows we NEED to buy in January”.
Those saying this are wrong. We should buy in January but we do not need to buy in January.
Being desperate to do something is what can lead to mistakes. Lead to poor decision making. Leads to departing from a well planned strategy.
Edu and is team will want to recruit in January. They have their targets. Are doing the work in the background and will hope to get the deals done that they want to.
But last January showed we will not make poor decisions just for the sake of getting someone in.
Most fans are calling for us to get in another forward. Someone that can play out wide and potentially cover Gabriel Jesus’s absence down the middle (or allow Gabriel Martinelli to move centrally). You will find very few disagreeing that we should be investing this area. And I completely agree.
Edu will have his list of targets. Seemingly top of that list is Mykhailo Mudryk. Reports are Shakhtar Donetsk are holding out for £85million for the 21-year-old.
That is a huge fee for someone who has played just 66 senior games.
Arsenal will not want to pay anywhere near that figure.
Edu will have this widow and the next two or three planned out. And the more we spend on one player means less available for another. That is why clubs negotiate. Why they don’t just “pay the asking price”.
With around £120m to spend over the next 2 windows, £85m on Mudryk will mean less money for a central midfielder, less money for another forward, and less money for further reinforcements.
If the Ukrainian club do not lower their demands, Arsenal will look elsewhere (and also possibly return in the summer when Mudryk might be cheaper).
But where will both of those options leave us in January?
Well if the plan is to return for Mudryk in the summer, then we probably will not buy a winger in January – the days of getting in short term cover at big costs are over.
If Edu decides to recruit someone other than Mudryk in January, it will be a permanent solution. It will be the next person on the list – someone like Cody Gakpo.
But then what if Gakpo is also unobtainable. As is 3rd on the list. And 4th how far down to we keep going?
We saw last year with the pursuit of Dusan Vlahovic that if a deal for our first choice does not materialise, Edu will happily “keep his powder dry” until the right target appears. And this January, despite us being in the title race, we will follow a similar philosophy.
Last January, Vlahovic was clearly our number one target. Despite our best efforts? He moved to Juventus. Edu did not panic.
He would have known that Jesus would be becoming available in the summer, and the Brazilian was the next man on Edu’s list.
Had he panic bought and got in Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Alexander Isak, we probably would not have been able to recruit Jesus.
Since the last January transfer window shut, Isak has scored just 5 goals. DCL 3. The pair have played a combined 9 Premier League games this season.
Both would have cost in excess of £50m last January and, had history repeated itself, been huge flops for Arsenal.
If Edu can not get his first choice in this January (whether due to him going elsewhere or being out priced), and other long term options do not materialise, then expect him to follow what happened 12 months ago and sign no-one.
If you go too far down your potential targets list, and sign someone just for the sake of getting them in, you will end up with a very costly error.
Lucas Perez is the perfect example of that.
Other deals that summer didn’t happen, and we ended up signing Perez out of no-where. Nearly £20m spent and he was clearly not up to standard. A waste of money.
Edu will be speaking to clubs, to agents, to intermediaries. He will know who is available in January and who is potentially coming available in the summer. He also knows our budget, and how buying someone else will impact other transfers.
Some might moan if we do not get someone in January. They would rather we over pay (and miss future targets as we have less money), or just get anyone in. They are more interested in us making a signing rather than who we sign.
These sort of people are short-termist. Reactionary.
They are also the type of fans that will demand we sign someone short-term, then if it doesn’t work out moan that we wasted money on a short term signing. The club are in a no-win situation with these.
I want us to sign a couple of players in January. An attacker and central midfielder. But they have to be the right players, at the right price.
And if the right players, at the right price, or not on the market, we should keep our pound notes in the pocket.
Edu will be ready to rest the Vlahovic decision from last year in January. He will only spend the money on players he wants. Not just sign someone because we need to buy.