Tag Archives: January

5 key factors to remember during the transfer window

With the transfer window less than 6 weeks away, speculation is beginning to mount on who will be coming to join Arsenal in January. Whilst thinking about what to write on the matter, 5 key factors came to mind. Rather then write on each individually, I have collated the thoughts into ‘5 key factors to remember during the transfer window.

Ignore the Speculation

Journalists throughout the globe use transfer speculation to write easy stories. Sports editors use speculation to fill up column space and gain hits for advertising revenue. And ITKs use transfer gossip to gain followers, to fill the void in their lives where friends should be.

My advice, as always, is ignore the bullshit. It can be hard not to get drawn in at times, such as with the Higuain deal last summer, but its important to remember the basic stats. We will be linked with over 100 players, and likely sign 1 or 2. I have seen people getting angry at the club when one of the targets a paper prints ends up at another club. It is unlikely this player was ever a target, so the person is getting angry for no reason.

Finally, remember planted stories. Agents representing players will play a story, in the hope it brings to light the availability of said player and someone else signs him. They will also plant a story to quicken up a deal, or in crease a contract offer, with another club. And often a selling club will plant a story in the hope that it will generate interest in a player. This is where Arsenal’s world wide media appeal is a disadvantage. Link a player to Arsenal for those reason, the world will write the story.

Do not believe the speculation until you say the player holding the shirt.

If you want to keep up with the transfer speculation, or just have a laugh with how many players we get linked with, from Sunday, we will be running SheWore’s famous ‘A to Z of Transfer Speculation.’

The World Cup Matters

One player generating a lot of interest at the moment is Diego Costa. The Brazilian Spanish striker has recently declared his allegiance to his new nation. Yet to win a Spanish cap, yet certainly on the radar of the Spanish management, he will be foolish to leave Spain.

Join Arsenal, have to settle in a new country, and no longer be guaranteed the starting spot that he currently gets for Atletico Madrid, he would likely be cast aside in the thoughts of the management before he has even kicked a ball for Spain. Why would he leave?

We saw a similar situation nearly 2 years ago with Lukas Podolski. A deal was done in January, however he decided to hold off until the summer as he was worried about his Euro 2012 spot.

The World Cup is key in players’ thinking. Better to be playing and performing for a lower side and get into your countries squad, then make the move, fail to settle then lose your place. It’s why I can not see the likes of Diego Costa and Karim Benzema changing club, let alone moving country.

Obviously when it comes to players such as Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Robert Lewandowski, this does not apply, as they are so key to their national sides, that the could not play for their respective clubs between now a June 2014 and still be starters in the World Cup.

The Champions League Doesn’t Matter

Whilst the World Cup is uppermost in the mind of players when thinking about a January transfer, the Champions League should not come into a clubs thinking.

Whilst a player can have a lot of short term benefits, giving the squad a morale boost, and adding depth to an injury ravaged position or improving the overall squad quality, a player needs to be signed with a long term vision. That means being cup tied for the Champions League does not come into thinking.

When you are investing in a player over a 4 of 5 year contract, the Champions League should not come into the thinking. You do not turn down a Lewandowski because he can not play in the Champions League. Likewise you do not sign a Papise Cisse for the sole reason that he is not cup tied.

When making a January transfer, it is important to not just focus on the next 6 months, but more importantly the next 4 years.

Beware the Year Long Loan

Romelu Lukaku and Loic Remy are two names on many people’s lips as January transfer. Stop them thoughts dead as they will not happen. You can not sign someone in January who is currently on a season long loan. Rules do not permit this.

Whilst both players would be ideal signings for Arsenal, they can not happen. As Donnie Brasco says ‘Forget about it’.

Sometimes NOT SPENDING is Best

Fernando Torres ( to Chelsea – £50m), Andy Carroll ( to Newcastle – £35m), Alfonso Alves (to Middlesbrough – £12m), Scott Parker (to Chelsea – £10m), Jermaine Defoe, Robbie Keane, Pascal Chimbonda, Carlo Cudicini and Wilston Palacios (all to Spurs – combined £44m), Nicolas Anelka (to Chelsea – £15m), Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Nigel De Jong and Craig Bellamy (all Man City – combined £48m)

The best players are often not available in January. Yes you could land a Suarez or Arshavin (remember his 1st 12 months!), but these players are few and far between.

Whilst Arsenal’s squad does need strengthening, and a couple of key transfers could see us lift the title come May, it is important that we buy the right players, and not just spend because we feel we have too.

Last January we were heavily linked with Diame and Ba. We could have tied up a big chunk of money over many years on two players who are not really Arsenal quality. Just because you have money in your pocket, it does not mean you should spend it.

If the right player (Lewandowski, Ginter, Benzema, Suarez) does come available, by all means sign him. But if what is available is not good enough, then not spending is best. ‘Keep your powder dry for the next window’ is the key moto.

What you are usually best off doing is investing the future. In January 2006, Manchester United signed Patrice Evra (£5.8m) and Nemanja Vidic (£7m). Both looked vastly out of depth in their 1st 6 months at the club. After the initial settling in period, they became amongst the most consistent players in the Premier League, winning back to back to back Premier League titles and a Champions League. Did the 6 months pressure free time to adjust to England give them an advantage? Likely. But in  January 2014, not for the 2013/14 season, but for the next 4 or 5 seasons. Let them adjust and adapt, then become world beaters of the futures.

The January transfer window is a tricky one. Arsenal got it spot on back in 2004 buying Jose Antonio Reyes. Whilst he ended up struggling as he failed to fully adapt to England (dyslexia, bullying, consistently fouled) he was an important cog in the title race. Who can forget his goals against Chelsea (both league and cup). He was a fresh of breath air, both for the players at the club and the fans.

Signing someone in January can be like taking a shot of adrenaline during a marathon. When you are lagging, tiring, the fresh legs can galvanise the team, the fresh face can galvanise the fans. Personally I would always make one signing every January.

Just remember, as speculation builds up, don’t believe it, don’t get your hopes up, and it is important that Arsenal sign the right player, not just a player.

Keenos

 

Lukas Podolski – Like a brand new signing

Before the Southampton game, Arsene Wenger came out with quotes which he has since be mildly derided for:

“I think we can win the title without signing a striker”

He went on to explain his thinking, that deals for top players in January were hard to complete (true) and that the imminent return Lukas Podolski made “it less critical to sign a striker.” A discussion with myself and friend of the site, AFC_Glen pursued, and it got me thinking. And as I began thinking, I thought some more.

Where I ended up was an interesting place. My thoughts about the striker went down 2 tangents. The first thought was ‘What top strikers are out there who are better then Oliver Giroud & gettable in January’ and the second was ‘If we are looking for someone to be back up for Giroud, is there anyone out there better then Podolski?’

For me, the strikers we are chasing fall in to 2 categories. In box 1, we have top draw, marque, better then Giroud, 1st choice strikers. these are the likes of Wayne Rooney, Luiz Suarez, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema. In the 2nd box, we have players who can play 2nd fiddle, back up, or at most challenge, Olivier Giroud. The likes of Alexandre Pato, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and Javier Hernandez.

A striker is defined by the goals he scores. So for a simple comparison, I worked out their career stats, games per goal, for all club competitions:

Games per goals

Now this simple task highlights what I wan mentioning earlier, about the 2 boxes. To the right of Giroud, you have 4 strikers who are better then him and have the statistics to prove it. to the left, you have the strikers who are either not as good, or at best would challenge him for a 1st team place. The only anomaly is Edin Dzeko, this can be explained by a prolific spell in Germany, where he  averaged 1.67 games a goal. In England, he averages 2.56 games a goal, the exact same as Giroud.

The point I am making (hopefully) is that we have 2 choices. Firstly is to buy someone better then Giroud. Rooney, Benzema, Suarez or Lewandowski. Now whether these players are available, and in January, is another debate. They are clearly better, both in ability and statistics, then Giroud.

If we are looking at the 2nd option, a player to compete and provide competition for Giroud, the question then arises, do we actually need anyone, or is Podolski able to do that job?

Podolski averages 2.58 games per goal. Mario Balotelli the exact same amount. Is it worth going and spending £20million+ on Mario Balotelli to get someone who, statistically, is no better then Lukas Podolski. Moving down the list Pato averages 2.51 and Hernandez 2.46. Again, is it worth spending £10-15million on these in January, are they any better then Lukas Podolski?

Personally, I think if we can not get one of the top 4 whom I mentioned (Rooney, Suarez, Benzema, Lewandowski) then we are better ‘keeping our powder dry’ and waiting until the summer when they may well be more available.

The strikers in the 2nd box are no better then Podolski, a man, remember, who has 46 goals in 110 caps for Germany. That would make him England’s 3rd all time top scorer, had his parents decided to emigrate to the UK rather then Germany when he was 2.

So back to Wenger’s quote, that it is “less critical to sign a striker” now that Podolski is back. I feel this is the truth and, unless a top draw striker is available in January, we can win the league with Giroud, Podolski, Walcott, Bendtner & Sanogo as our striking options.

Keenos

 

5 Strikers Available to Arsenal in January

With over £40million still available to Arsene Wenger for January transfer, we at SheWore speculate in a 4 part series (Striker, Midfield, Defence, Others) on realistic potential transfers that we might make in January. We start this week with 5 possible strikers that could be available to Arsene Wenger for January.

Luis Suarez – Our number 1 striking option for the summer eventually fell through due to a lack of clarification over his transfer release fee. There is a strong possibility that we could return to Liverpool in January. With Daniel Sturridge having scored 6 goals in 5 games, were he to continue that form, Liverpool may well be willing to entertain a big bid, as they would not require to sign a replacement. This one would require Luis Suarez to play up over the next few months, once more making it clear to world football that he wants out of Liverpool.

Robert Lewandowski – Rumours are that over the summer, he and Bayern Munich cam to an agreement that he will sign on a free transfer next summer. Reports are Borussia Dortmund were happy with this deal, as it meant Lewandoski would not leave to Bayern in the same summer as Mario Gotze. However, nothing has yet been signed, leaving the door open to other clubs to make a bid. Dortmund would still prefer to see Lewandowski go abroad. A move in January would generate a fee for the German club, whilst a summer 2014 move would see him go on a free. It would come down to how much Lewandowski wants to go to Bayern Munich.

Rickie Lambert – A deadline day target whom we enquired about once the Demba Ba deal went dead. Could Arsenal go back in for the English striker in January? He would provide short term cover for Olivier Grioud, before we make a bigger signing next summer. A stumbling block would be a transfer fee. He would be a temporary solution, but Southampton would command northwards of £10million. A big fee, but half a dozen goals in the run in to a title chase could prove priceless.

Fernando Llorente – Having joined Juventus on a free transfer in the summer, he seems to be no longer wanted by the club after the signing of Carlos Tevez. He was clearly signed with the idea of leading The Old Lady’s line, but once Carlos Tevez came on the market and was signed, he has found himself starting just 1 of their first 3 games. If his frustration continues, and with it being a world cup year, he could look to get some game time elsewhere in January. Some reading might say “He can not move club again” however, the FIFA rule is:

“Players may be registered for a maximum of three clubs during the period from 1 July until 30 June of the following year. During this period, the player is only eligible to play in Official Matches for two clubs.”

In the 2013/14 season, he has only been registered with, and played for, one club – Juventus. Whether he would leave the bench of Juventus for the bench of Arsenal is another story…

Christian Benteke – Having turned down bids from Tottenham, Aston Villa agreed a new 4 year deal with the Belgium international after the big man withdrew his transfer request. A backtrack like this is only usually seen by David Cameron , an Aston Villa fan. You have to think that the signing of a new deal included a transfer release clause. Were Arsenal to meet this clause, Aston Villa would have little choice but to let their top marksman leave. I would speculate that this clause would be around the £30million mark. A lot of money for someone who is not considered as ‘top draw.’ However, for £30million you are getting a 22 year old who has 23 Premier League goals in a little more then a season. He would not need to settle, and would soon repay that fee if he scored crucial goals in a title run in.

Next week: 5 Midfielders Available for January

Keenos